The Purpose (or Lack Thereof) of Twitter

pexels-photo-267350.jpegFlash back to 2007/2008. Your spouse comes home from work and says a colleague wants to get a following going on this new type of computer application called Twitter. He says you can message someone up to 140 characters. My question is: Why don’t you pick up the phone? He says that you can communicate with several people. My next question is: Why don’t you just email to a group of people? He has no answer. So, we are two people that never saw the purpose of using Twitter. It’s bad enough that people can take your email the wrong way or your Facebook post the wrong way, but limiting a message to 140 (now 280) characters, is only a recipe to bring out the worst in people. If you are not an articulate writer, then one tweet can unleash a barrage of negative responses if the tweet is taken the wrong way. So, what’s the purpose when you have alternatives? Even Twitter couldn’t describe its purpose for many years except that it was a form of microblogging. A person could tweet short messages to the universe hoping that someone finds the message useful and interesting. To me, that was not a purpose that would entice me to use the application.

However, over the years, Twitter has evolved. The word “hashtag” has virtually replaced the words “pound sign.” Twitter is not only used to give bursts of short messages to people, but now you can “follow” several news feeds, entertainment feeds, etc., to get your daily dose of information rather than buying a newspaper or magazine. With one look at your smart phone, you can keep an eye on trends, news, and even provide your opinion. This saves time but misses the point of really focusing in on the article you are reading.

I remember the days of when I would spend Sunday mornings, lazing around the house, drinking my coffee and reading through my newspaper and favorite magazines. The internet has changed that, and it’s a personal preference on how a person wants to get their information and communicate with people. For me, though, Twitter, doesn’t really have a purpose. I want to read and contemplate what I am reading rather than just taking a “quick view” of something or giving an opinion that is limited to how many characters I can type.

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What Happened to Face to Face Talk?

Number 9 Number 9 Number 9 – Before the Internet

The Beatles, or the Fab Four as I so affectionately remember them, has their entire remastered catalog out in the public and it went on sale in 2009.  I remember playing Revolution 9 when the whole “Paul is dead” theory was rampant throughout the US. We played the song backward at “Number 9 Number 9 Number 9” and absolutely and positively thought we heard “turn me on dead man” and that this was a clue to Paul McCartney’s premature death. We sleuths were putting two and two together and were convinced between the Number 9 clue and the Abbey Road album, where Paul is walking across the street barefoot, that our idol was truly dead, and that an imposter was playing Paul. Conspiracy theories ran rampant back then. My friends and I would sit around camp fires, sit in our pajamas in each other’s basements at pj parties and just debate about the whole death theory (Why would someone make it up? How could they get the album to play backward? What about the license plate on Abbey Road? Didn’t you hear the car crash on that song?)

Wondering How We Would Debate it Now

That was before the internet. Face-to-face discussions about issues that affected our lives. I just wonder what it would be like if the whole “Paul McCartney is dead” theory happened now, with the internet, rather than back in the 1960’s.