Recently, a colleague stopped following me on Twitter because, he says, keeping up with my feed is “emotionally exhausting.” Others have panned the practice as banal, self-indulgent, time-consuming or narcissistic. And then there’s this video, which successfully, and hilariously, paints Twitter as absurd in the extreme:
All of these folks make good points. And, as most who know me are aware, I am nothing if not banal, self-indulgent, time-consuming, narcissistic and otherwise emotionally exhausting—but that’s me, not Twitter. Twitter itself is nothing more than a medium I use to disseminate my narcissism, banality, etc., and like all other media, it can be used well or it can be used poorly.
When used poorly, you get the Twitter described above. But when you use it well, Twitter becomes something more than yet another social networking site; namely, a real-time, collaborative mental sketch pad that allows the user to take an idea, throw it in the hopper, and see what comes back. At it’s best, Twitter isn’t about getting to know each other so much as it is about sharing ideas, shaping a larger dialogue and watching the cultural zeitgeist develop in real time.