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.