Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thought for the day - the Twitter Bubble

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.


  1. Anonymous1:26 AM

    LOL This is funny.
    Where does "incredulity" reside in the brain, exactly? Just by my asking that question, I'm sure you can anticipate where I'm going. And where does anticipation reside in the brain?
    The point of Twitter has nothing to do with the content or the size of the bits of info. It has to do with minute by minute self-awareness residing in the Noosphere. We're watching ourselves watching ourselves. Human Self-awareness is a fascinating thing and the simple act of noticing it without judgment is much more productive and progressive than incredulity.
    Relax. Life is good.

  2. Anonymous12:45 PM

    I appreciate your incredulity with regard to the inane posts on Twitter. It's truly full of them.

    But I've found the Twitter universe to be full of people collaborating on questions, making global connections, getting to know their friends and workmates, and reporting news.

    I use Twitter for all of the above, and (although some who know me might disagree) I am fairly selfless and not particularly narcissistic. I find it to be a good business tool and a fine channel of communication - just like email or the phone are.

    Is it remapping my brain and attention span? Perhaps. As an antidote I've vowed to read more novels and take more walks outdoors.

    To dismiss it as valueless is short-sighted in my opinion. But that's the beauty of all these social media outlets - we can say what moves us, and occasionally (if we're open to it) we'll learn something new from one another by virtue of allowing the conversations to happen.

    Thank you for doing so.

  3. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Check this out!
    Speaking of watching ourselves ... Have you seen a "Canonizer"?


    This is an interesting platform for organizing what we believe and our individual points of view so that they form a heap or organized whole or something in between. I have often become frustrated or exasperated about not being able to organize well enough to get some things done... such as change the Mental Health Care System in California...
    'nuff said.
    This turns my subjective state into an object and forces me to look at it and take it apart. Joy and wonder! What a great toy!

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