"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land." Ezekiel 22:30

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why I hate Twitter

This is an old blog I wrote way back in the winter of 2007-2008. I was six years younger back then, so I think my writing was a little more raw than it is now. I've also changed some of my thinking about the subject since then, but I still have a love-hate relationship with Twitter - I use it, but I don't feel good about it.

Twitter is  beautiful thing for the easy access to information, but it's frustrating for the seemingly artificial limitations is places on your expression. It's also frustrating because people continually want to argue about politics, philosophy and theology in 140 characters. Just stop it. Aquinas, Aristotle, Chesterton, Lewis, Tolkien, and all the greatest thinkers of human history wrote books on these subjects, and you think you can boil it down to 140 characters?

So that bothers me. Anyway, take a read and let me know what you think. But I can't promise that I agree with everything I wrote back then.


I hate Twitter.

I hate Twitter with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

Why, might you ask, do I hate such a wonderfully harmless, technologically magnificent, web-based information supercenter (not to mention is has that cute little bird on the front page) that is Twitter?

Well, my hate may seem disproportionately exaggerated and exceedingly spiteful, but I feel that I have good reason to direct such an inordinate amount of anathema, hatred, and outright objection towards such a lovable little fuzzball of the internet.

Our society has enough trouble utilizing words longer than five or six letters, not to mention the calamitous inability of many young people to formulate trains of thought and sentences more than four or five words long, much less coherent sentences.

We are invariably moving towards a time when ADD will be a veritable pandemic, if it already has not become so. We are incessantly becoming a society of people incapable of focusing for more than a few seconds. Technology is in part to blame for this. Facebook, MySpace, cable news, internet news, and now twitter have all put a wealth of information at our fingertips; perhaps too much information.

Why do I need to know what Suzy is doing at 10:40 on a Tuesday night? And why is it important for me to know what Jim thinks about the latest episode of "America's Got Talent"?

I don't think it is important for me to know the answer to that impossibly simple, yet continually unanswerable questions which Twitter has built itself upon and by which it challenges all users: "What Are You Doing?"

Shall we think about that query for one moment? "What Are You Doing?" If one were to truly answer this inquiry, Twitter would then cease to be useful, for what would the answer always be? "Why, I am typing some words into my computer" or "I am telling you what I am doing" or perhaps "I am Twittering." What is the purpose to that? And why do I need to know what so many other people are doing?

Even so, if we were to expand our concept of "doing" to include a more broad sense of time, say 10 or 15 minutes preceding or following the act "twittering", then really it still makes no sense to tell the world what one is doing because even when engaging in one course of action, say just a simple thing like watching TV, we as humans are doing many things at that one moment.

Therefore if Twitter users were to answer the Twitter question honestly, Twittering would be either a useless tool to simply state the obvious, or an overwhelming source of mostly useless information about the daily goings on in another person's life, most of which we would already probably know because we are human ourselves.

Now this doesn't preclude the necessity to make use of the phrase "What are you doing?" in normal, everyday interaction and conversation. But that has a far different connotation. When you ask someone what they are doing LIVE and in-person, there is a human element that no computer program or website can reproduce. It is a chance for two humans to connect and share some feelings or thoughts as humans were meant to do: via their own voice. (I apologize in advance to those of you reading this who are deaf and mute)

Ah, but there are other uses for Twitter you say? People may put random thoughts or messages on there. It doesn't have to merely revolve around what they are doing, some may argue.

And so it may be. But there are other methods for communicating such information. Facebook, blogs, poems, etc. By limiting messages to 140 characters, we are trying to limit the human mind, maybe it's not so much intentionally, as it is merely a by-product of the rest of society.

It may not be the problem, but it is helping exacerbate the problem.

My main focus, and perhaps the source of my resentment towards Twitter rests in some more challenging questions:

What has our society become? And what is it becoming?

Just because more information has become available does not necessarily mean it is all worth consuming. I don't think the drastic rise in available knowledge and information has necessarily translated to more wisdom.

And isn't true wisdom something that we should all by trying to know, instead of what everyone else is doing?

No, there's nothing wrong with knowing what Joe SixPack is doing. There's nothing bad about speaking in less than 140 characters. I just think we can do better.

1 comment:

  1. I see your reasons now...lol thanks for sharing.