Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tweeting my trip: Because any one really cares.

I am very torn about Twitter.

A recent member to the site, I found the idea initially quite silly. Honestly, this site is even more self-indulgent and narcissistic than Facebook, save the "@replies" feature that allows one to dedicate their status in response to another person one is "following"s status.

But within my first week of joining I had my mobile phone networked so that I could text status updates while I was walking around the city, sitting on a bus, etc., and now I find myself thinking in status updates quite constantly. Well, at least when I'm by myself. Going hand in hand with being narcissistic, I only think to tweet when I'm by myself either at my computer or out at the supermarket or just after class. Here is how my thought process plays out when I'm, for example, at Trader Joe's:

Old woman with amazing pashmina scarf in line behind me starts talking about the best place in the city to find roses and asking me about the chicken broth I have in my cart. She also has the most amazing blue rimmed 1983 glasses I've seen this side of the new millennium.

I want to remember this moment because she is exactly who I want to be when I'm 75.

There are a few friends who would have appreciated this experience with whom I must share my thoughts and feelings.

I must send a text to Twitter about this event so as to remember it and simultaneously share with friends

I also now have my Twitter updates linked to my Facebook profile, so whenever I send a text to Twitter with a new status update the update will ultimately end up on Facebook as well (although I believe there are a limited number of these that Twitter will send to Facebook per day).

But, this is assuming that my friends actually care about what's happening in my day enough that I should share every little part of my life with them through social media. I know that I have a few friends whose updates are always very interesting, funny, or informative, and I guess at times I hope mine have that role for someone else in my life. And in a way, I don't really care if anyone cares about these little things I find amusing in my life. Again, straight up narcissism.

In any case, the tweeting is almost entirely superfluous, although not entirely unnecessary. Case in point: My flight to California on Monday was met with several problems, almost all of which I texted to Twitter or to Facebook (through their mobile photo uploads feature). Several of my friends and family members were able to find out when I would be home and what was going on with my layover situation simultaneously, without having to go through the time-consuming process of calling/texting everyone who needed to know. In a way, the Twitter status update is a type of mass text sent to everyone who is following me, just through the medium of the computer instead of the cell phone.

However, a big reason why I use Twitter is so that the end result of my status update will find itself on my Facebook profile. I have 435 friends and family members with whom I am directly connected on Facebook, and only about 20 people who I am following/follow me on Twitter (I would give an exact number here but my mom's laptop is not wanting to connect with Twitter at the moment. This actually happens quite frequently, and I think it's due to their small yet expanding bandwidth). This is most likely due to the fact that Twitter is a newer site, and that the majority of the people with who I am close have not yet decided to join the site for either moral or insignificant reasons (I was having a cell phone conversation with a friend the other day who said he was feeling out of the loop lately. He ascribed this feeling to the fact that he was not yet on "Twatter". You get the idea). Some still think it's a joke, but most new media trends are usually met with adversaries.

Not taking into account how many businesses have been using Twitter to profitable, reliable, networking-savvy ends, Twitter for the layman is really just a fun tool with an easy to use, pretty cool interface (my profile has birds on it. Hee!). And as narcissistic and self-indulgent as it may be, the next time I'm waiting in line at Trader Joe's for a half an hour or find that the L is shut down and have to walk 5 Avenue blocks to my destination or some idiot is trying to take a photo of the Washington arch at night with a flash and I feel like I simply have to tell someone about it, you can bet I'll be texting my good friend Twitter with the details.

2 comments:

Alyssa said...

I feel the exact same way! I was anti-Twitter for so long and now that I'm "tweeting" it feels good.
Book rec: The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean Twenge.

Josh said...

Last night, Anne and I had a long conversation about Twitter and how we refuse it.

That said, have you given up blogging? :P