Sunday, June 14, 2009

Am I a twit for not Twittering?

I've just recently descended into the circle of hell that is facebook and have enough trouble keeping up with that. I've taken IQ quizzes (genius, of course), listed my five favorite everythings, found out that I drive women wild (thank you, Captain Obvious) and reconnected with people who never really interested me in the first place. Now you want me to update my "followers" on my every move? I've got news for you, I'm not that interesting. Twitter is for people who don't have the attention span for facebook.

I actually don't mind facebook because it has forced me to write more, and it gives me an audience for my blog (yeah, that means you). I've avoided Mafia Wars and Scrabulous, but there are still plenty of things on facebook to waste time with. But at least you are still doing something. It seems like with Twitter - admittedly I've not explored the site fully yet - all you do is follow what others are doing. Suddenly, it's on the cover of Time magazine.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Now I'm as curious as the next guy, but I don't need to know what people had for breakfast or what song they are listening to at the moment (well, maybe I do). I don't need to know that you just got out of class or crossed the street or picked your nose or took a deep breath. And, I don't feel like telling you those things either. I mean, I don't know about you, but I try to hide it when I pick my nose.

Do I want to know when my niece wins a ribbon at a track meet? Sure. Do I want to know that you just got engaged/married/separated/divorced/remarried? O.K. That's what we have facebook for. And don't give me any nonsense about how the Gen X'ers have taken over facebook and the youngsters need something of their own. Hey, if you don't want to know what your parents are up to, don't friend (is that now a verb?) them. I'm a big fan of the "ignore" button on facebook.

If you spend all your time on Twitter, when do you actually do anything? On facebook, there are games, trivia quizzes, videos, etc. But it seems that all Twitter has to offer is the mundane ramblings of people who think they are important. I understand the whole marketing aspect of the thing, but do I really need another way for people to sell me stuff? Maybe Twitter needs something which functions like a DVR/TiVo - something to edit out the commercials.

As a high school teacher, the social networking boom has captured my attention as I try to better connect with my students. I blog and facebook (another new verb) and post photos on Picasa. These kinds of sites require you to think, plan and react. Which photos do I post? Which trivia quiz do I publish? What thoughts should I put into words for the world to see? But Twitter is different.

With Twitter, we're sinking further into the quagmire of passivity which is plaguing the early part of the century. We've become so enraptured with what others think or do, that we don't do anything ourselves. Facebook is enough of a time vacuum; we can do without Twitter. According to their "Twitter in Plain English" video on their website, "real life is what happens between e-mails and blog posts." Glad to know there's a "real life" in there somewhere, but what happens when you're so caught up with following, you have no "real life" to "tweet"? Later on in the video, it says that what's happening on Twitter is the "real world".

Um, not quite. The real world does not happen 140 characters at a time. It happens with a thought toward what's truly important. It happens in private, without public broadcast. It happens to people who are TOO BUSY TO POST TO TWITTER!

A true twitterer will constantly update followers (sounds like a cult, doesn't it?) on his/her mundane thoughts and activities. It's like fast food for the mind. Oooh, look, Aston Kutcher just stopped at the Circle K! Oprah just fed the dog! My apologies to all you "Twitterers" out there, but I beg you, instead of becoming addicted to this electronic dross, get out and do something yourself. And for god's sake, don't broadcast it to everyone. You're just not that important.

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