I have a Twitter account, but I’m not yet convinced that I want to go down this route. Apologies to anyone who has tried to connect with me that way.
I’ve had some quite persuasive arguments put to me about the benefits of ‘twittering’. A friend told me that I would only see the benefits once I had a big enough group of people to follow or be followed by. I think the figure he mentioned was over 50.
This article Brave New World of Digital Intimacy (which is quite old now – 2006) is also quite persuasive in many ways. But there are also some scary bits.
The first is ‘time’. The article describes asking someone with 1000 online contacts how she finds the time. Her reply was – that she needs to spend only a small part of each hour actively reading her Twitter stream. But that is only her Twitter stream – presumably she still has her email, her mobile texts, her Facebook, possibly her Flickr, her blog etc. etc. and even if she didn’t have all these, then even a small part of each hour builds up- and worse is the fact that you appear to have to be joined at the hip to your online connection to be connected these days. (I’m beginning to feel a bit like this with this course – spending far too much time online! Can’t be healthy!)
And here’s another seriously scary part of the article:
“Sometimes I think this stuff is just crazy, and everybody has got to get a life and stop obsessing over everyone’s trivia and gossiping,” she (Ahan) said.
Yet Ahan knows that she cannot simply walk away from her online life, because the people she knows online won’t stop talking about her, or posting unflattering photos. She needs to stay on Facebook just to monitor what’s being said about her. This is a common complaint I heard, particularly from people in their 20s who were in college when Facebook appeared and have never lived as adults without online awareness. For them, participation isn’t optional. If you don’t dive in, other people will define who you are.
This is a real life example of the tyranny of participation that I mentioned in an earlier post.
There’s lots of positive stuff in the article, but I’m still not convinced. However, I’ve always been one of the last to adopt new technologies. Give me another couple of years and I might have changed my mind!
The article is worth reading though.