So I’ve been getting a lot of heat (read: one comment) on why I love to make fun of Twitter. And I admit, Twitter is a useful device; it’s free, fast, and connects us to people But do you want to know what my beef with it is? No? Well I’m going to tell you anyway.
Primarily, it’s the fact that it has changed the way news is reported, and that this has led to the decimation of newspapers. The ease and speed of Twitter’s ability to convey news stories is unrivalled. Often stories are broken on Twitter before they are announced at press releases or even discovered by journalists, and in a time where people want breadth, not depth, of information, it is the perfect medium. Yet this is the problem- with the instantaneous nature of Twittering comes a dulling of opinion. I’m not stupid enough to think that people, in turn, are stupid enough to get their news off Twitter. However, I do believe that some of their interpretations of events are influenced by it, and are hence limited in their nature (to 140 characters to be precise). With a newspaper, columnists are very often paid to give their opinion on such matters and as a result have more time to get high and consider the story from an existential perspective. Or they could be boring, and just give an informed opinion. Either way, the quality of their work is infinitely greater than the ‘insights’ of Twitterers, who may take things out of context and just take it at face value.
What am I actually getting at? Hmm, that’s a good question. I suppose it’s that Twitter, by revolutionising news, has actually made it irrelevant. People don’t seem to want to know what the news is as much as they want to know what the public consensus is regarding it. When Patrick Swayze died, much media attention was focused on the tributes flowing from celebrity Twitterers. How can this be a good thing for society, when we are more focused on the reaction to someone’s death than the actual person who died? Additionally, despite its potential to allow for the diversification of opinions, it seems Twitter is actually breeding homogeneity. I mean, when Michael Jackson died (sorry for the continual dead celebrity usage), surely there were celebrities thinking “There goes one of the most batshit crazy music identities of the last thirty years. You’re next, Phil Spector.” But instead, he was given a mulligan on his last twenty years; the focus remained firmly on his admittedly spectacular musical achievements. So basically Twitter has developed into an extension of a celebrity’s PR. That, or a breeding ground for their craziness (see: Ron Artest, the NBA’s most insane player ever).
Another thing I dislike about Twitter is the amount of crap people post about their everyday lives. You just hopped a bath? Good for you, but I really didn’t want to know that. Oh wait, you’re now out of the bath and doing your hair? And now you’re reading the new Dan Brown book which is OMG the best book EVA lol? WHO CARES!
This also extends to celebrities. I understand that it’s a good way for them to connect with their fans and all that. But we don’t want to know all the details of your life. I’m looking at you, John Mayer. See, us commonfolk idolise you guys because we think you lead impossibly glamorous lives. So please, don’t ruin the illusion by Tweeting on the toilet.
One more thing that I dislike about Twitter- it gives unwarranted attention to celebrities fading out of public view. For the past few years, if you wanted a career boost you might have had to go on some god-awful reality show like Dancing with the Stars. But now, B-movie stars like Ashton Kutcher are back in vogue, all because they beat CNN to be the first Twitterer with 1 million followers. Really? A photogenic twentysomething is more popular than a faceless conglomerate? Who would’ve guessed!
On a positive note though, I am happy to report that the overabundance of Twitter usage in the NBA and NFL has led to special codes of conduct being introduced to deal with social-networking etiquette, and timeframes for when it is acceptable to Tweet. In other words; footballers are being told they are writing too much. What is the world coming to?
By the way: I strongly encourage everybody to tune in to Media Watch if they do not already do so. A mixture of criticising and pontificating, combined with an overwhelming sense of superiority- it’s every blogger’s dream.
That is all.