Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pretending the Internet doesn't exist

Does it seem like Twitter is your whole world lately? While Twittering this morning I came across a Twitter about this article by Mark McKinnon on Twitter which asserts that the 140-character per post site has "jumped the shark." (I don't feel like explaining what "jump the shark" means again, so figure it out from context or move on) Why?

This from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX): “Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren't going to bother watching pelosi smirk for the next hour.” Now, I’m totally down with Ana Marie Cox, the original Wonkette, being the reigning journalism media queen of Twitter. She’s young and hip and all things new media. But, Joe Barton is, well, not. If Joe Barton is Twittering, I’m thinking maybe Ana Marie may be on the next idea. And if members of Congress are Twittering, we can be fairly certain it won’t be hip much longer.

So, Twitter is over because middle-aged Republicans are now using it. Every time I come across an article about how social networking sites are the death of Western Civilization I experience the same sort of irritation I felt at the movie Wall-E. It's the natural aversion to being condescended to or hearing blithe assertions about one's lifestyle by people who don't know what they're talking about. Wall-E posited that all of human culture would one day disappear because some people like to eat at McDonald's, and social networking haters make a similar leap in logic when they claim that everything good about our way of life is about to vanish because a certain percentage of Twitter users are obsessed with how many "followers" they have. (For the record, I have more followers than people I follow and less than 100 of both. That seems like the way to go.) It's in the way that you use it, folks. We're still learning how Twitter might change journalism and how it might become a viable business, and generalizations don't help the discussion. But for the 6 million or so who use it (and that includes businesses, journalists, and sports teams) it's a functional part of their life in ways that McKinnon never stops to consider. Statements like:

I've decided to spend that time on the handful of people I really care about. I write them real letters.

are as smug and useless as those personal essays on All Things Considered about how rewarding it is to make your own jam and not have electricity. Who knows how long and with what frequency I'll continue to Twitter, but it's here.

1 comment:

Midgard Dragon said...

Chance are if you felt preached to or condescended to via the movie WALL-E, you weren't at all paying attention and were just looking for something to feel offended by. No surprise, it seems everyone these days is simply looking for the next thing that offends them on movie and in television, rather than appreciating art.