Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Blizzard of Banality

So many of today’s technological communications methods (“texting,” “IM-ing,” leaving comments on people’s “walls” on Facebook) seem irrelevant to my life. Such a statement dates me, and ages me, and reveals that there was actually a point in my adult life when I rolled my eyes and said “Email? Why would I ever use that?” That point was freshman year of college. How far I’ve come.

This dinosaur, email, serves every one of my communication needs. Yes, I occasionally send a text message, but maybe once a month at most. My point is this: I am not planning to begin Twittering anytime soon.

Twitter, as I understand it, is a way to send updates about your every thought and action to a large group of people who have elected to “follow” you. These missives must be 140 characters or fewer. Dedicated Twitterers might send out dozens of updates a day. The missives have practical uses—if you report that you’re at a certain bar, then all your friends will immediately find out and come and meet you—but mostly they’re kind of like mini-blog posts.

Were I still living in Spain, or even in New York, I might have been tempted. But now? Thinking about this over the past couple of days, I can imagine what my Twitters would have been like:

“Just spent four hours working at my computer and my eyes really hurt.”

“I’m heading over to look out the kitchen window now to see what that noise was.”

“Just checked the New York Times website to see if Sarah Palin’s withdrawn from the race.”

“I just turned down the fan because it was drying out my contacts.”

“Just Googled ‘Sarah Palin withdraw McCain.’”

“Going down to see if the mail’s come yet.”

“That peach from the farmer’s market was bruised, but good.”

“The Venetian mask in the bedroom is really scaring me.”

“I wish I had a garbage disposal.”

Still with me? It would be a blizzard of banality. I haven’t “followed” any Twitterers myself, so perhaps I don’t really have the concept down. For now, I will spare you all, and myself, these numbingly dull haikus. Actually, if they were haikus they’d probably be kind of fun:

“The Venetian mask in the bedroom
seems to be staring
right at me.”

“Those dishes in the sink
have to be washed by someone:
maybe Andrew.

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