Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twitter Tax

I'm usually up-to-date, give or take a few months, of new technology except for those which require large expenditures of time or money (e.g. hence why I'm about 20-30 years behind video games). But communication tools are my wheelhouse and that's why I'm an avid email/web/cellphone/blog user. I haven't been able to upgrade to a blackberry because I don't have the money (same thing with an iPhone, although my bad experience with the iPod, specifically the incompatibility with PCs, have militated me against mapple).

Yet there are two current tech-trends that I have not leapt on: texting and twittering. Texting is possibly a generational thing, or manual-dexterity thing, but I have a feeling it's also from personality difference. Despite my fishbowl professions and my public presence, I am jealous about my time-management and private space. So even back in the 90s, when texting was called "IM," I didn't do it. It's against my brainworks to be at someone else's schedule or hierarchy of topic importance. IMing also would crash my OS.

True, because I don't value IM/Text/Twit, I then expand that devalue to disdain - for the mechanism and even for its advocates. The message quality of IM/Twit is meager and made more for speed than comprehension.* Who needs that.

But that brings us to Twitter. As some random dude I read on a blog comments page (I think Balloon Juice, who have great commenters) Twitter exploded because the iPhone made it easy to do - that 'platform' is a key gateway to technology acceptance (an example, from me, for this is why DVDs caught on swiftly even though they replicated the {much more expensive} laserdiscs). So no iPhone for me, no twitting.

But it appears to be a slightly expanded form of Instant Messaging and I say the hell with it. [See the second pic to get the reference] And I think Twitting has been accepted by the mainstream codgers with a relish that feels creepy; it's almost as if journalists scoffed at blogs, found out that soon blogs were eating their lunch, and didn't want it to happen again so they vowed to indiscriminately accept the next new tech tool. Twitter was next up the pike, so they grabbed it.

A different theory is that journalists and politicians actually do think in 140 character bursts.

In either case, I'm annoyed by any reference to twitter, twitting, tweeting, twooting, or what-have-you, and I've decided to add a Twitter Tax to any company that broadcasts proudly that I should follow them on Twitter. Yeah? You really think I'm so dim that I will eagerly invite you to pour 140-character spam into my phone/laptop? A tax on you!

*=link to a good NYer article by Louis Menand on text-culture. Pic from here, a similar curmudgeon. Second pic from here but originally from NewYorker.

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