Friday, June 12, 2009

Twitter: The Quest for the Ultimate One-Liner

This month Time Magazine is publishing an article on how Twitter is revolutionizing society. Sigh.

For those of you who don't know what Twitter is, it's like Facebook's status messages but it's 24x7. You subscribe to your friends/colleagues/celebrity status updates to know what everyone is doing all the time. They call this activity "Tweeting", which to me sounds more like human flatulence than anything else. It looks something like this:

"@Starbucks writing this status message"
"Enjoying this nice sunny day"
"@conference learning about Agile software development"

Of course the above are not ultimate one-liners by any stretch of the imagination :)

It strikes me that these social networking sites are nothing more than the shameful quest to come up with the ultimate one-liner. It reminds me of the character Lord Henry Wotton in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, charming and witty but with no true substance.

Why not write a real short story? Or a poem? Instead of broadcasting all the details of your life to a bunch of strangers, why not commit your most profound thoughts to your close friends and family?

My real problem with Twitter or Facebook for that matter is that we really don't see a complete story. We see only the part that we wish to expose to the public, and this to me is ridden with shallowness.

Time Magazine might call it a revolution, but I think it's meaningless entertainment. The ultimate high school popularity contest. The winner will have the most followers with the most interesting one liners. I might have to paint some bloggers with the same brush. All fluff, no substance.

I'll admit that I've been drawn into Facebook from time to time, but I think I would be just as happy (perhaps happier) if I had never created an account. A friend of mine once said to his daughter who had over 700 friends on Facebook "if you truly have 700 friends, you are the shallowest of persons I know." Humans really only have room for 10-20 real relationships, so why fool yourself into thinking otherwise?

End Rant.

1 comment:

agilewarrior said...

I hear ya Jonathan. I feel pretty much the same way about Twitter. I am sure something is there. I just don't find myself drawn to it yet.

Cheers - JR