My Last Tweet

Tweetie Bird (by drschenck)

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get Twitter. But with everyone advising you to use it, in conjunction with Facebook and other social media, to keep an Internet profile, I gave it a try.

I located some friends and ‘followed’ their ‘tweets’. I followed the tweets of some well known personalities. I tried Twitter as an ‘update service’ to let me know about articles, news items, and new web entries.

I understood all this, but I still didn’t get it. Twitter derives from instant messaging and from text messaging, phone to phone. Cell phone that is. It belongs to the culture that apparently wants to be in touch and available almost all hours of the day. I automatically think ‘teenagers’ but what I’m seeing belies that. The world is turning into a cell-phone/texting culture. I don’t get that either.

I own a cell phone. I’ve never texted with it and I only have it on for emergency purposes when I’m out of the house. Perhaps my mild aversion to cell phones comes naturally. For over five years I was in an ‘on-call’ rotation in the IT department of a large insurance company. It was 24/7 and often brutal. When my pager beeped or my corporate cell phone rang, it was usually not happy news.

Even so, I still don’t get why people want to broadcast one-liners along the lines of ‘I’m in Starbucks having a delicious green-tea latte’, ‘Just watched Dollhouse. It’s not going to survive’, ‘Rejection slip. I’m bummed!’, ‘Too sleepy to stay awake. Night, night.’

Sure, it’s life, as lived even. It’s also life at its most trite and banal. It’s characters acting out a part in a play with a bad script, made up as it goes. Engrossing? Perhaps to a sociologist.

Lately there has been a rash of articles in places like the Toronto Star offering advice on what constitutes a good use of Twitter, Twitter for your business needs, and so forth. Kids, when the daily newspapers start explaining how to tweet, you know whatever ‘cool factor’ Twitter might once have had is gone.

Admittedly I’m not the best judge of ‘cool’. I’m somewhat solitary, but when I see friends, I prefer to see them face to face. I don’t automatically count everyone I meet on the Net as a ‘friend.’ I’m fine with email — it works more than adequately to keep me in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. I enjoy discussion forums where something might actually be discussed.

A lot of people keep Twitter open in a window as they work, and tweet back and forth with ‘friends’ throughout the day. Although habitues of Twitter will likely disagree vehemently, I think I can say with some assurance that every tweet read and replied to lessens your concentration and efficiency.

You can multitask fluently, you say? There’s not a neurologist on the planet who agrees with you. ‘Multitasking is a myth’, is their consistent message. But we all cherish our illusions.

Life is short. As I approach my 64th birthday, it seems very short. I’ve tweeted my last tweet. My account has been deleted.

I’d rather be writing.

11 thoughts on “My Last Tweet

  1. I’m with you, Gene.

    Trite and banal sums up Twitter for me, too. I don’t need to be telling folks I’m having a Starbucks latte. Moreover, I don’t know anyone who would care if I did.

  2. I’m with you, too. Trite and banal is one way to put it; a desert of unctuous self-absorbtion is more my style of assessment. My adult world is complex and confusing and nothing interesting in it could be reduced to 140 characters. Metro Morning (currently hosted by Andy Barrie on CBC) has devolved from David Shatsky’s exploration of interesting topics to, now, a program for people with short attention spans. And so, too, it appears, the internet has devolved from the intellectual garden to a wasteland of a thousand lost golfballs (I almost typed goofballs).

  3. A number of people commented on this entry on Facebook so I’m adding them here to preserve continuity:

    Kirk Teetzel at 4:36pm May 12
    Twitter/Facebook is open all day for me. I constantly switch back and forth between work and social, if I didn’t I’d go crazy. Maybe for me its the ADHD thing but I’ll quickly burn out on day-to-day work if there isn’t anything else there to provide me with an alternate. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of multitasking as much as it is a matter of… Read More averting boredom.

    Twitter doesn’t get quite so much use as Facebook but I can see its “benefit”, and I’d much rather text something than call somebody. A) it’s cheaper and B) it’s quicker. I really don’t want a 5 or 10min converstaion to say I’m going to be a little late.

    Ronald Herron at 5:37pm May 12
    I’m with you, Gene!

    Mo Pigeon at 3:52am May 13
    I agree…people “twittering their own ego’s…almost, perhaps, to death!!”

    Suzanne Williams at 11:27am May 13
    I agree with JohnB, Maturity & good sense. I think what we might be witnessing is the … Read Moreevolution of man, in a hundred years we will have lost our tongues, we can’t seem to have a decent face to face conversation anymore, and have developed long pointy fingers for all that texting, and blue ray ears for listening, and looking cool..I tolerate facebook, just to see what my grandchildren are talking about, Heaven forbid I comment,but at least I get to see what they are up to, and the poker and conneting with friends has been nice,

    So I like you Gene will not be tweeting!

    Martin Pinker at 1:46pm May 13
    I’m with you, Gene. I signed up to follow one or two interesting personalities, but I’ve learned nothing of any value from their one-liners. I made a few amusing remarks myself, but the novelty of that wore off rather quickly.I still don’t get what all the fuss is about.
    Likewise, I see the masses using their phones to text 24/7, and again, I’m not at all interested in doing that myself.

    I do enjoy Facebook, but there’s nothing to beat flickr!

  4. I cannot see the attraction of it either, up to the point that I’m not even tempted to try it (so maybe I shouldn’t be judging…). Age related? Maybe at 44 I’m old in internet/mobile world terms ;o) Anyway, I prefer following some nicely written blogs (like yours) or civilised and interesting forums (like RFF)…

  5. “Admittedly I’m not the best judge of ‘cool’.” One of the best lines ever … I’m stealing it, since I think it applies to me AT LEAST as much as you! 😉

    “I constantly switch back and forth between work and social, if I didn’t I’d go crazy. ”

    The sad thing is .. he/she already IS crazy. In your cogent phrase, this is “cherishing an illusion”. That all are in delusion/see illusion is not the point, rather that clinging to illusions is so sad and unnecessary.

    The net and its social tools are neutral, but what those tools are revealing (not causing) is how much self-absorption there is … of the illusory self/ego.

    Stop me before I get way too Zen! 😉

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