Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back In the Saddle Again

It is quite embarrassing that I haven’t posted anything in over two months. It seems, just looking at my output, that my enthusiasm has waned in 2009. This isn’t the case—I am a person whose thoughts on a given subject far outpace any action related to it—and it is something I am always trying to rectify.

Those I know personally who read this blog know that I suffered from overwork, exhaustion, and pains in my hands and arms that essentially forced me to stop blogging for the sake of my health. I was no real writer, as I did not sacrifice my precious down time to spend it on the computer.

But I was also deeply embarrassed by my previous comments on Twitter.

I didn’t even want to write again about Twitter, having another post tagged under it. But I feel I need to redress previous comments made. Over the past two months, I grew to hate the service. It overtook my life. Companies demand to know how many tweets on a given topic are said on a particular day, and to compile these numbers is overwhelming, in a nutshell. I’ve read all the positive press, from Steven Berlin Johnson’s cover in Time (which I would have known in advance had I not been so ridiculously busy June 4, as I follow him), to well, pretty much any mainstream story on it that appeared on Google News. And I am just so fucking sick of fucking Twitter.

I tried it out. It’s too short for my liking, too much information too fast, and not a reliable way to filter through. Unlike checking email and blogs and Facebook and all our other online “chores”, I didn’t want to invest the time in it, and so I didn’t. It’s like a pet—if you love animals and reap real benefit, great. But if you have no desire to spend your time and resources on it, then don’t.

I’ve also grown to dislike the way certain industries tout its service, and how it’s become a necessity for interaction, a requirement. I want to opt out! I don’t want to be forced to take part!
I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about Twitter (this was before I had grown to full-on hate it, when I was still in ambivalent mode), and we both found blogging to be far more useful. Twitter is too maniacal for her, an assault of nonsensical, mundane thoughts strewn with links. Blogs were thoughtful, occasionally insightful and filled with information and humor.

Of course, in the interim between this post and my last post, there have been plenty of stories written about this, how many bloggers have moved on to other mediums, who can't find the time, and yet, in every conceivable publication imaginable, how beneficial the service is and why you need to have one.

People use the service for different reasons—for youngsters as a way to have private conversations online, when Facebook becomes too crowded, or to find jobs, or sources of stories—but I find it an inept social tool, and I vastly prefer forms that let me wax on, connect, and share without limits or distractions. Unfortunately, as much as I want Twitter to die a quick death, it probably won’t happen. I can hope that it becomes MySpace—passé, off-putting, occasionally worth a peek for its public properties, but otherwise an ailing media property that has cash-flow problems and is too loud for most people.

So what else could have been blog-worthy?

I found out about Michael Jackson’s death relatively early—a coworker blasted through, announcing it. I went on Google News immediately, found nothing but cardiac arrest, and demanded proof. “TMZ! TMZ! Check it!” Still very skeptical, I did—and was met with a three-sentence item followed by “more to come.”

So the most interesting thing throughout the entire excess coverage of this exceedingly bizarre person for me was the timing and accuracy of the information, that for many people, myself included, we didn’t believe the story until it was confirmed by more traditional outlets. As the Los Angeles Times put it,

“Few people expect TMZ or Drudge or the National Enquirer to get things right or to report on issues of substance. When they do, at least so far, it’s a bit of an anomaly. So the consequences for getting it wrong among such sites do not seem terribly high. If CNN, Fox … got such things wrong, the consequences would likely be higher.
As much as people love to glee over the death of the mainstream media, we still rely on them heavily for trusted information, for confirmation and access, no matter the story. Yes, our trust in them has eroded over the decades, each successive scandal further lowering the scale, but online hoaxes are quick, and Twitter and its ilk are just as much about hype, rumor and misinformation as the high school prom. But, as much as I dislike TMZ and the ever-larger paparazzi mill, they are becoming a trusted source in their field.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...