Tuesday, February 24, 2009

on Twitter

I can imagine the days when the telephone was being introduced into people's homes....

"Why would I want a contraption in my house to enable a bunch of idle chatter with people I try to stay away from?" "I don't have time to make telephone calls." "If someone wants to contact me they can damn well take the time to come to the house!"

The nay-sayers are out there again, now it is twitter that is the target.

Twitter is a way to push 140 characters to somewhere, cross-platform, cross-network, for free. Most people can't comprehend the power of such a thing. The lunar lander accepted 8 character commands. Your bank PIN is 4-6 characters. Passwords are generally 6-16.

Just as the early nay-sayers of the telephone didn't understand that someday civilization itself would be defined by access to one, I think people are completely missing the power of twitter.

True, it is now being used for time-wasting egotistic narcissism by almost all of it's users. Name a communication media that has not been exploited, early and often, by those seeking to capitalize on other people's greed. But, you will make a mistake if you confuse the potential of the technology with the banality of the current user base.

The awesome potential of the ability to send a 140 character string of text to a device that understands text commands, no matter where it is, what network it is connected to, or from whence the message came, is beyond my ability to contemplate fully.

So, if you don't want to twitter, that's fine. Don't. But be careful when you cross-over into ridiculing and denigrating those who do. There's a big ole' train leaving the station that you're not going to be on. The more certain you are that the twitterati are self-deluded, idiotic, time-wasting narcissists the more you obscure your own awareness of what is really happening. You've been warned.

I've learned that Ashton Kutcher is actually a fairly interesting guy by following him on twitter. I've never really like his persona in his work (other than Kelso on That 70's show), and I thought the marriage to Demi Moore was a joke, but after following them both on twitter I've changed my opinion of them both. Ashton is a geek and Demi is actually sort of nice. They struggle with their celebrity and it's pitfalls, but they were home tweeting on Saturday night and when they pointed to something interesting via tweets, well, what they pointed to actually was interesting.

Now, I sort of follow what they're doing like I do old friends on Facebook, not with intense interest, but I keep a running narrative in my head of what's up with them and they clearly believe that this is a much more effective way to stay in touch with their fans than by being fodder for the tabloid media. Very interesting.

Shaq and P DIddy also tweet, but they shouldn't. Shaq's atrocious spelling and SMS-speak isn't helping his image with me much, and Mr. Combs just confirms his self-absorption.

That's real information, folks, and I feel this is only the tippy-tip-tip of this iceberg.

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