I don’t know how many people out there have heard about it, but there’s this thing on the internet called “Twitter.” It’s a fascinating little site where people of all ages, all walks of life, can come together, spit code at each other reminiscent of an early DOS language, and call it communication. Apparently this thing is really starting to take off. I’ve begun to “follow” some people on it that I think would be interesting people to follow, and though some of them are at least twice my age, they have a far better grasp of this new code of language than I do. I’m not that old, but when I go to Twitter I feel like I am.
Twitter is fascinating for a few reasons. For one, as a person who has only a select number of “good friends” in the world, whom I have known for most of my life, Twitter makes me feel like an outsider. I know that, in order to be a part of the world I am living in right now I have to embrace Twitter and try to make the most of it, have a ton of friends on it – but more often than not when I go onto it I can’t stand it. I can’t stand looking at posts from people I respect, or people I find interesting, because it bothers me sometimes how readily they are willing to accept this format of communication. I know I’m making a silly point, and used properly Twitter can be a great tool for all of us to utilize, but sometimes it gets on my nerves. Twitter makes me feel like an outsider in this world far more often than it makes me feel like I know what the hell is going on.
Twitter also is, of course, a perfect synthesis of what our society has been working on for years, with this idea of immediacy. Immediate gratification, immediate success, immediate recognition and immediate history. Watching the feed on my Twitter homepage is like watching a film reel that I’m unrolling with my hands. Each frame is only slightly different, but each frame, if dwelt upon long enough (say, 5 seconds) is found to have its significance grow exponentially…and immediately dissipate when I go to the next frame.
Twitter is a perfect synthesis of this culture of immediacy, where every moment is judged independently, every success and failure is contextualized without historical context, and anyone can be the most important person in the world, for little reason, for far less than the once previously allotted 15 minutes.
Oh, I spelled “Twitter” wrong in that last paragraph. Thank you for the correction WordPress.
This move towards immediate response and relevancy seems to have begun with blogs like this. If I want everyone to hear my opinion, I just blurt it out on this page, post it, and jettison it out into the world. Maybe it will fall into five people’s nets; maybe five million. I’m just sending it out there into the world, and if I get enough people to follow, I am famous for having an opinion. This takes a lot less time than it used to before blogs.
Twitter is the result of speeding up all of these processes. None of this is really news, I just wanted to share a brief opinion on it. Again, used correctly, Twitter can be quite valuable. I use it for links to literature news, associated press updates, and whatever the hell Patton Oswalt is up to now. These things are vital to me.
Well here’s my Twitter. I don’t use it to tweet really. I use it to follow news, congratulate people, and make up terrible epigrams. I don’t know what else I can do with it, but hell – it beats feeling like a constant outsider all of the time.
One day I’d like to take as much time as I can, in order to try to analyze and understand the world we live in. That way, I can make a real educated guess as to where our world is heading. Right now, all I can do is look at Twitter and not see anything beyond it.