I am incredulous that so many people seem to want to share the ongoing details of their life via twitter and facebook. Do I really care to know that friend X is about to brush his teeth and go to bed? Allesandra Stanley writes a humorous piece on this phenomenon. Some clips:
Left alone in a cage with a mountain of cocaine, a lab rat will gorge itself to death. Caught up in a housing bubble, bankers will keep selling mortgage-backed securities — and amassing bonuses — until credit markets seize, companies collapse, and millions of investors lose their jobs and homes....And news anchors and television personalities who have their own shows, Web sites, blogs and pages on Facebook.com and MySpace.com will send Twitter messages until the last follower falls into a coma.
At the height of the subprime folly, there was not enough outside regulation or inner compunction to restrain heedless excess. It’s too late for traders, but that economic mess should be a lesson for those who traffic in information. Like bankers who never feel they’ve earned enough, television anchors and correspondents apparently never feel that they have communicated enough....It’s not just television, of course. Ordinary people, bloggers and even columnists and book authors, who all already have platforms for their views, feel compelled to share their split-second aperçus, no matter how mundane.
Those who say Twitter is a harmless pastime, which skeptics are free to ignore, are ignoring the corrosive secondary effects. We already live in an era of me-first journalism, autobiographical blogs and first-person reportage. Even daytime cable news is clotted with Lou Dobbsian anchors who ooze self-regard and intemperate opinion...On-air meltdowns are the new scoops. The CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli, a former trader, delivered a rant last week on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange about the Obama administration’s mortgage bailout proposal.
Mr. Santelli, it should be noted, has not lost all restraint: he does not yet have his own Twitter account. Fans created one for him, in case he changes his mind. “Just to let everyone know,” one follower explained. “This is NOT Rick’s account, but it is a place holder for him as soon as WE can convince him to join Twitter. :)”
And that space has, as of 4:20 on Friday afternoon, 158 followers. Twitterers who maintain that their messages must have meaning since they have an audience should keep Mr. Santelli’s void in mind. There are always some people who, given the chance, will respond to anything, even nothing.