Friday, March 06, 2009

Less Than Twitterpated

As I've hopefully mentioned several times before, my two favourite columnists (pipping my British favourite, Howard Jacobson, to the post) come not from the worlds of politics or news journalism but from American sports. Gregg Easterbrook and Bill Simmons of ESPN combine weighty sporting analysis with insights into American politics and popular culture from their day jobs (political journalist and comedy writer respectively).

I mention this because I've been watching the blogosphere's love affair with Twitter for some time and feeling unusually stuck in the mud about it (early Facebook adopter as I was, though that was more to do with my fan club than anything). And then Bill posted this in answer to a reader's e-mail...

The more interesting angle for me is how Twitter and Facebook reflect where our writing is going thanks to the Internet. In 15 years, writing went from "reflecting on what happened and putting together some coherent thoughts" to "reflecting on what happened as quickly as possible" to "reflecting on what's happening as it's happening" to "here are my half-baked thoughts about absolutely anything and I'm not even going to attempt to entertain you," or as I like to call it, Twitter/Facebook Syndrome. Do my friends REALLY CARE if I send out an update, "Bill is flying on an airplane finishing a mailbag right now?" (Which is true, by the way.) I just don't think they would. I certainly wouldn't. That's why I refuse to use Twitter.

As for Facebook, I don't mind getting status updates and snapshots of what my friends' lives are like as long as they aren't posting 10 times a day or writing something uncomfortable about their spouse/boyfriend like "(Girl's name) is … trying to remember the last time she looked at her husband without wanting to punch him in the face" or "(Girl's name) is … just going to keep eating, it's not like I have sex anymore." Keep me out of your personal business, please. Other than that, the comedy of status updates can be off the charts. Like my college classmate who sends out status updates so overwhelmingly mundane and weird that my buddies and I forward them to each other, then add fake responses like, "(Guy's name) … snapped and killed a drifter tonight" and "(Guy's name) … would hang myself if the ceilings in my apartment weren't too short." It kills us. We can't get enough of it. We have been doing it for four solid months. And really, that's what Facebook is all about -- looking at photos of your friend's kids or any reunion or party, making fun of people you never liked and searching for old hook-ups and deciding whether you regret the hook-up or not. That's really it. All in all, I like Facebook.

And now I feel much better about my future as a semi-professional curmudgeon.

1 comment:

GoodLiberal said...

I hate Twitter, was a very early adopter of Facebook (2005 is early, I guess), and love Easterbrook and Simmons. Both of their books are worth checking out too.