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Posts Tagged ‘Tweeting’

Twitter sucks

In Random thoughts, Uncategorized on March 25, 2012 at 8:31 am

Continuing the effort to build my online presence, I recently fired up a Twitter account. I have so far had some decent success in connecting with people via this blog, so I considered Twitter the next logical step. Having now been “tweeting” for three or four weeks, I’m starting to wonder why I bother. My short foray into the Twitterverse (a word I just made-up) has landed me a mere 12 followers. From what I can tell via my WordPress stats, not one person has accessed my blog through Twitter. To be fair, I’ve hardly clicked on the links other Twitter users (Tweeters?) have posted. This got me thinking: Is anyone on Twitter actually paying attention to the endless stream of virtual chatter?

Being on Twitter is like being stuck in a room with someone who doesn’t stop talking. It’s an endless tirade of meaningless blather. I was following one writer but eventually dropped him, as he seemed to tweet every 30 seconds. It was constant. Whenever I logged on, his were the only tweets I saw. He drowned out everyone else. If you’re going to tweet (I’m really growing to hate that word), then please post stuff that’s stimulating in some way. I don’t care enough about the mundane minutiae of my own daily routines to bore other people with them, so why do I care that someone I’ve never met is “Pretty raved out”?

I suppose I’m missing the point of Twitter—but now that I’ve dabbled in it (I have since cancelled my account), I can honestly say I don’t understand its appeal. Is it actually possible to convey anything meaningful in 140 characters or less? The tweets that really annoy me are things like, “You can make your dreams come true if you believe” and “You are the engine of your own destiny”, and other feel-good affirmations that have zero substance to them. Thank you, but I feel pretty good about myself already. Also, don’t bother telling the rest of us that you’ve just gotten up or are going to bed or heading to the gym or heading home from the gym or deciding what you’re going to have for dinner. We don’t care.

Facebook I understand. It allows people to reconnect and keep in touch with friends and family. That said, I’m suffering a severe case of Facebook burnout. What is this need we have to constantly be updating people about everything we’re doing? Since when did all our lives become so interesting? Do we need to know that a friend or acquaintance—at this very moment—is eating at the International House of Pancakes?

Don’t mistake this for the misanthropic rant of a perpetual grump. As opposed to Facebook and Twitter, I love WordPress because it allows people to share unique opinions, ideas, and experiences in a way no status update or a 140-character phrase can. It requires a level of effort and creative thinking.

My future biographer’s great dilemma

In Random thoughts on January 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

Having recently read biographies of Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl—and currently reading one on Hemingway—I have concluded that my life is pretty dull. I have not overseen covert operations for British Naval Intelligence in a time of war (Fleming), nor have I flown with the Royal Air Force against the Luftwaffe in North Africa (Dahl). Add to this embarrassing list of confessions the fact I have not hunted big game in the Serengeti or fished for marlin off the coast of Cuba (Hemingway). What, you ask, have I done? I once met Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon in the Hard Rock Casino’s gift shop in Las Vegas. All I could manage to say at the time was, “My name’s Simon, too.” He responded, “It’s a bloody good name, isn’t it?”

This apparent lack of adventure will, I’m sure, present a challenge for my future biographer—as will my mundane love life. I have not bedded a stripper named “Stormy,” nor have I had an affair with the wife of a powerful media magnate (Fleming). I did not marry a successful actress (Dahl), nor have I lusted after a nurse who tended to my war wounds (Hemingway). On that point, I’ve never gone off to war nor been wounded in battle. What will my future biographer write about? It’s hard to say, as I won’t be leaving him/her much to work with. But it’s more than just my boring life that’s going to cause problems. It’s the lack of letters.

The Fleming, Dahl, and Hemingway biographies all list as primary source material letters written to and by their subjects. Gonzo scribe Hunter S. Thompson, believing he would someday make it as an author, had the amazing foresight to keep carbon copies of every letter he ever wrote. Today, letter writing—in the traditional sense—is pretty much a dead art form. We opt instead to send e-mails, which most folks delete as soon as they’ve read them—or we send quick text messages comprised of acronyms. L.O.L. Perhaps even more egregious is the fact many folks rely on Facebook status updates to convey what’s going on in their lives. Does this mean biographers of tomorrow are S.O.L.? Where is the primary source material for tomorrow’s biographies going to come from? Are there aspiring writers and artists out there saving their texts, e-mails, status updates, and “Tweets”?

Sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read is Speaking for Themselves, a volume of letters exchanged between Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, over the long course of Churchill’s years in public service. How different that book would be if it were collection of “Tweets” no more than 140 characters long.

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