On the web, there are fewer things more amusing than the sport of watching mainstream journalists write pseudo psychological/sociological bullshit on emerging technologies. (As an experimental psychological, I’ve read a enough of this to be reasonably expert.) Blogs, for example, are dismissed as mostly crap, irrelevant and, on occasion, vomit-inducing. As a criticism, you could apply this to vocal conversation, and it would be equally idiotic.
The latest chap to make a moderate tit of himself is the author of this article from AdvertisingAge. The blog is not his target, but Twitter. ‘What Twitter?’ I hear you Tweet. Well, this is an online service that allows users to post extremely short descriptions of what they’re doing at a given moment. It’s nothing more or less than that. For me, it’s entirely a piece of art; I love the idea of people from all over the world just answering a simple question over and over. I first heard of it via Leo Laporte. For a visual demo, check out this Twitter map.
I’m sorry, but if you don’t think this is simply awesome as a piece of global, human expression, then I can’t help you.
Anyway, the author of the AdvertisingAge article wanted to illustrate the pointlessness of Twitter (damn it, so what if it’s pointless; why use utility as a marker to justify the existence of art?), and he sampled some Tweets at random. Guess what? One of them was mine:
Having a nap in the hope my feverish symptoms will abate.
Fame at last! But one of my Twitter friends, Debra Hamel, took exception, and posted a response on her blog. An excerpt:
Twitter is not thousands of people tweeting their every move to the world at large. It’s thousands of interconnected, opt-in communities in which people are tweeting their whereabouts and current reading and lunch plans and health updates to the members of their virtual communities–which may include people in their real-life communities too, like family members and work mates.
Well said, Debra. Twitter is a conversation. It’s a communicative technology, and attacking it is as pointless as attacking two cups and piece of string.
What a muppet.