Jun 1, 2009

What's On Your Mind?

Not much, really. This blog is, at times, a testament to just how little is goes on in my life. You both may recall the less-than-epic tale of a fly landing in my coffee and the monofaceted adventure that was the the time I didn't like how a sock was turning out.

The concept of a blog, aside from being a wretched neologism, is an almost overly manicured snippet of one's existence. I can't speak for everyone, but when I write entries into my blog, I edit multiple times before, and often a few times after, I publish them. Unless there is some time-sensitive content, I may even save a draft, allowing myself to return to it with fresh eyes. It may be the daughter-of-a-writer in me, but I always like to ensure that each entry is a well-structured and witty use of my diction. The problem is that with each successive edit, reality yields a little more to a dramatic or entertaining narrative.

That said, it's hard to write an entire paragraph without letting some element of your personality slip through. While the cold facts you deliver may not mean much, what you leave between the lines might be a candid display of who you are. For instance, forensic linguists were able to prove that an author, other than Jane Austen, completed the novel, Sandition.

But what if you're not writing an entire paragraph? I am of course talking about the increasingly popular hobby (or compulsion) of updating one's Facebook status message. As a moderate narcissist, I can completely understand how someone may think that their entire friend list would want to hear every banal detail of their day. I am drinking coffee. I am done drinking coffee. I am going to the store because I ran out of coffee. I mean, it's boring when it's someone else. But my life is just riveting, and other people obviously feel the same way about it. Solipsism aside, I often wonder if, at the end of a day of keeping our friends apprised of our every little movement, when we then meet one of these friends fin person, have we rid ourselves of everything we could talk about? To be fair, there's a little more to Facebook than status messages. We can show pictures of events in our life, which could represent a graphic novel-style depiction of our existence. We can also lay out, albeit in bullet points, a description of our lives: where we live, who we're dating, favourite quotes, and so on. Best of all, we can link offsite to more in-depth accounts of what we're up to, such as our blogs.

The same is not true for my newest pet peeve: Twitter. Twitter has stripped away all the remotely expressive elements of Facebook and left us with the most self-indulgent and attention-span bereft feature. Twitter is what's wrong with society. It is instant gratification, self-involvement, and anti-social behaviour all rolled into one. And to make matters worse, the parlance associated with it is just plain aggravating. Instead of updating your status, you are now tweeting. And it is everywhere. More so Myspace during its heyday. It seems that every celebrity is tweeting. An astronaut tweeted from space. News of a revolution in Moldova surfaced over Twitter. Worst of all, I just heard that an NPR presenter has a twitter account (and no, I am not telling you who it is!).

I know I sound like a old-aged pensioner reminiscing about the good old days before the newfangled doodads brought about the end of society. I am sure that similar concerns about interpersonal communication were raised during the advent of the telephone or the hand-written letter. I remember the increased availability of the cell-phone evoking such worries, though, at that time, I was youthful enough then to be firmly on the side of the new technology. Maybe twitter, like the many communication technologies that preceded it, will allow for a positive evolution in our interpersonal exchanges. It could be that by clearing out the need to exchange more banal details of our day, we can spend our time together discussing more profound or esoteric issues. Perhaps someone may see your seemingly inconsequential status, which you would never have relayed to them in person, and be prompted to share something amazingly life-altering with you as a result.

It is possible that I am just such a long-winded, gasbag that I could never fathom limiting myself to just 140 characters.

1 comment:

Carly said...

I follow the YarnHarlot on Twitter. She's kinda *@#chy and annoying. She's my only "celebrity". The majority of my updates are from NPR and CNN, so I'd like to think I use Twitter for more than a social/entertainment purposes.

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