Friday, November 21, 2008
Warning: I'm About to Sound Really OLD
Dear Technology Gurus/Gods/Goddesses/Masters/Mistresses/Dominatrixes:
Stop already. Please. I was with you on the Macintosh computer. I was with you when Mac launched its fabulous OSX system. I was with you with high speed internet (which I don't think is a series of tubes, honest). I was with you with RSS feed (which, I admit, a friend had to explain to me -- but he was right! He was!) I was with you on cell phones, and I was really with you on GPS because I can't find my way out of my driveway without a map (written in English, not pictures, please). I love YouTube and iTunes, and I even surrendered to Facebook, and was glad I did because it helped me connect with friends of my late friend Jeffrey.
But really. Twitter? Really. Now I know you're just sitting around up there in Guru-Heaven toying with us like marionettes. Maybe having a conversation (or should I say convo) among yourselves.
"Let's make this silly tweety-twitter-bird program for them! They can talk about their day to day moments!"
"They won't do something this lame. Why do they need to know Billy brushed his teeth?"
"They don't need to know it, but they'll think they need to know it. Trust me. They will. We'll call it something cool, and we'll get all the cool people to do it and start talking about it. They'll sign up faster than Ted Stevens can say 'NO!'."
"It worked for flat screen TVs and SUVs didn't it?"
"Why, yes! It did!"
"And it'll work for Twitter. The name alone will do it. It's great branding. We'll put a cute little bird in the graphic and they'll be all over it."
"I get it! Yes, yes! We'll tell them they can connect with people better. We'll tell them that by knowing the inane details of their friends' lives (oh! Marc is running late!) (oh! Suzy just dropped the dog off at the groomer!) (oh! Joseph is off to another meeting!) (oh! Kathy is watering the plants!) They'll feel like they've got real friends! Real, fleshy, smelly, laughing, crying friends. They'll take up any possible space in their lives for silence with twittering. Then they'll lament the lack of silence."
"So then what ..."
"They'll Twitter and text and maybe watch a YouTube clip all at the same time!"
"By George! It's a winner!"
And on and on ye gods will go, playing with us mortals from the branches of your twitter-bird trees.
Enough people I respect have told me I need a Twitter presence. I believed these people about blogs, and they were right. I believed them with cell phones, and they were right. But no one needs to know my cat threw up today. (Ooops!) I shouldn't waste blog space telling you that. I should Twitter it. If I would Twitter. But I won't. I don't care if they're right. I don't care that John Lithgow now Twitters about his latest Broadway production. I don't care. Really, Technology Gods, I'm putting my cyber-foot down.
And here's why.
I've lived alone almost my entire adult life. I enjoy solitude. I enjoy my own company. I enjoy the space in my brain when I sit and meditate, or do yoga stretches, or just lie on the bed with the cats. I also enjoy people. The fleshy, smelly, laughing, crying kind much more than the cyber-kind. I know cyber-friends are sometimes necessary, and indeed, we can connect on certain levels with these types of friends. I know that when our fleshy friends live in other parts of the world, the cyber-world helps maintain that connection. I do, Technology Gods, I do, I do. (See, I'm blogging! I have three e-mail accounts! I even check them!)
But my mind is cluttered enough without the clutter of others' lives. It's cluttered enough without feeling obligated to follow someone else's chatter (uh, twittering). I only have so much time in a day.
I'm tired of reading student discussion board postings written entirely in text-speak. I'm tired of reading student stories where they cannot develop an idea or follow a thread (gee, perhaps because they're limited to corresponding in 140 characters on Twitter?) Oh, I know, I'm old. I'm 40. I don't get it. Things are different. People thought Elvis was going to bring about the end of the world.
But Elvis didn't bring about the end of Western Civilization. And Twitter probably won't either. Sigh. I'm a fossil with a flair-y wardrobe. Sigh. Twitter and the things we've twittered will outlive us all.
I love stories. I love language. And I do want to connect with people. And I'm willing to read a post longer than 140 characters if the author has thoughtfully presented his or her ideas. I'm willing to have a phone conversation (even a land line one!) with a fleshy friend. And I love going out of my house, away from my computer, into the sunny world of fleshy people. I love to have coffee with them, or alone in the presence of them. I'm not ready for my world to consist only of zeros and ones.
Please, Technology Gods. Enough. You've won.
Give us a fighting chance to find our own voices among all the senseless twitter.