What am I doing right now?
Well, Twitter, I’m trying to understand how such a trivial concept has become this truncated soap box used by more than 10 million “tweeters” across the world. Why do people think I would care what they are doing at every moment throughout the day?
MollyJean is “having a cup of coffee from Starbucks-caramel macchiato, of course!” Ev is “going for a run later.” Sammy24 is “a little bloated from Chipotle.” Chrisdotorg is “playing halo 3…then possibly gym … then more HALO 3!!!” According to Twitter and their lovable bluebird, people should tweet “because even basic updates are meaningful to family members, friends, or colleagues – especially when they’re timely.”
Twitter was hatched in August 2006 by Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey. Williams originally created Blogger, the popular online blogging forum which he eventually sold to Google.
Users of Twitter are limited to 140 characters to explain the complicated intricacies of their daily lives. This paragraph, as written, is already too long to post on Twitter.
There are obviously upsides to Twitter. The New York Times reported last week that protesters in Moldova used Twitter along with Facebook to organize a mass protest against the communist government. During the campaign, President Obama tweeted to let people know how he was doing on the campaign trail. Instead of reading Us Weekly, gossip hounds can get their celebrity updates straight from Ashton Kutcher and Snoop Dogg, both of whom tweet. The media has clearly anointed Twitter as the next big thing.
But Twitter has not really caught on with those of us in college. Adults 35 and older are leading the 1,000 percent increase in usage since last year. Those 45-54 years of age are the most frequent tweeters. According to Reuters, college-aged students and recent graduates use Twitter in about the same numbers as those between the ages 55 and 64. Grandma is getting in on the tweets as well, as slightly more than 5 percent of Twitter users are over 65.
It’s not that I have a problem with social networking or the use of technology for the betterment of society. I don’t. I have a problem with Joan tweeting that she just bought a new pair of shoes. I have a problem with Bob tweeting about being tired from a long night out at the bars.
The problem with Twitter is not in the simple idea of staying connected. It’s nice to stay in touch with friends from high school, family and colleagues from past jobs. But Twitter represents the most insincere form of communication. Why not grab a beer or a cup of coffee? Instead, we get tweets telling us that you just got out of the shower or stubbed a toe.
The next Twitter is already gaining traction. A new Web site called Justin.tv recently launched to provide users with a “Truman Show” look into its users’ lives. The Web site provides constant live feeds of a person’s home and office and a chat room for discussing what is going on in his or her life. The founder got the idea while strapping a camera to a backpack to allow people to follow him around all day.
Is this the future? Are we heading towards such a connected society that I need to constantly tell people what I’m doing? I guess if that’s where we are heading, then here is my tweet:
“Joe is going into the woods. Don’t bother texting.”
The writer, a senior majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.
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