Twitter Backlash

In the immortal words of countless bathroom stall doors, "Those who know me, know me well, and those who don't, can something something."

Or, as my techno-savvy cousin recently wrote, "Who needs chat when you have chat status?"  (Added bonus: he wrote this in his chat status.  Wit runs in my family.)

Look, I just don't get it.  I love my friends and family.  I don't, however, need to know what they're doing for every hour of every day.  In fact, some things I would decidedly rather not know (details of abdominal illnesses come to mind.)  I'm a big advocate of quality time, as I have said before. So it's heartening to find that others in the media are beginning to agree.

First, a welcome diatribe from Melissa Dribben about the evils of a constant stream of self-absorption:

I know. I'm turning my back on an invaluable resource. I'm missing out on the chance to be among the millions who know a celebrity has died 15 minutes before the rest of the world finds out (Michael Jackson, June 25) or years before the death actually occurs (Natalie Portman, Jeff Goldblum, and George Clooney, last week).

To shun Twitter also is to deprive oneself of access to the personal musings of great legislative minds. "I did big wooohoo for Justice Ginsberg," Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri tweeted in February, when she saw Judge Ruthie enter the halls of Congress.

Call me a fool for failing to take advantage of the greatest social network since Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn,, the coffee shop up the street, the parents association at my daughter's school, the alumni groups from college and graduate school, my neighborhood gym, the farmers market, the hardware store, my address book, the Yellow Pages, my dinner table, and the dog park. Agoraphobia's a bummer, isn't it?

Second, an interesting article from the New York Times about a biweekly gathering where participants are forbidden to tweet, blog or photograph any of the goings-on.  Imagine: the unbroken thread of a conversation untainted by tweaks into bloggable material!  The luxury of having one too many without the threat of tagged Facebook photos of the revelry, retrievable by grandmothers and prospective employers everywhere! And this wonderful quotation, which just may be my new mantra:

“We are fighting against this whole idea that everything people do has to be constantly chronicled,” Mr. Malice said. “People think that every thought they have, every experience — if it is not captured it is lost.”

Okay, so at least two people are on my side.  Out of several hundred million.  It's a start.

Postscript: in my grad class this evening, we were discussing Blade Runner and the City of the Future.  Interconnectedness, alienation, and depersonalization factored into our conversation, so of course Twitter came up.  Fully half the class shook their heads in disgust, and there was a general murmur of “Oh, that’s SO stupid.”  So, score seven more for Team Emily!