Much ado about tweeting

Copyright (c) FreeFoto.comOn 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.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

4 thoughts on “Much ado about tweeting”

  1. Ian, mate, he works in advert­ising, so he has no grounds to attack any oth­er medi­um or art as use­less 🙂 As Bill Hicks (my pat­ron saint) once said, if there’s any­one here who is in advert­ising go kill yourselves right now, you serve no use­ful pur­pose except to put a dol­lar price on everything… The ad folks prob­ably are set­ting up a sim­il­ar site now with fake entries from ‘real’ people all claim­ing to be using some great product right now. I think they call this site ‘TWAT’

  2. Good point, Joe. In fact I’m already get­ting added as a ‘friend’ by sus­pi­ciously mar­ket-ori­ented Twits…

  3. Douglas, wait till they get a load of my ‘giv­ing him­self a home hair­cut’ tweet. New depths of pro­fund­ity are being plumbed. I feel dizzy.

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