I loved Peter Whittle’s article on the Culture Forum yesterday.
Only the insecure twitter.
I have been giving the idea of Twittering some thought; however, it took Peter’s article yesterday to give me serious reason to reflect.
That, and someone proudly showing me a twitter from Jonathan Ross on his mobile phone. Jonathan Ross was apparently away for half term. The entire message was almost illegible and badly spelt so one must assume he is writing it himself.
What makes me uncomfortable is the voyeurism involved. When I read twitters that are by any other description messages between two people, it makes me feel uncomfortable, like I'm eavesdropping on a telephone conversation, or opening someone else's mail. It's akin to seeing two people being overtly intimate in the street, the get-a-room scenario; only with twittering it’s like, make a phone call or text why can't you?
Twitterers have followers. I'm struggling to see the difference between following and stalking, but I am sure someone will enlighten me. Others have observed that it is all about ego feeding, a kind of drug that feeds an ever constant need to validate one's existence.
Andy Pemberton covered the phenomenon well in yesterday's Sunday Times Style magazine, when he quoted the clinical physiologist Oliver James, who said "Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, where you are, what you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity". I get that, the phone beeps, the email pings therefore I am. I am alive, wanted, listened to , someone is interested in me.
I would like to resist the urge. I'd rather have people contact me because they are more interested in what passes between us as interaction, or because they want to know how I am, or to share something with me. I don’t really want to be ‘virtually contacted by someone because the yoghurt in their fridge is past its sell by date or because they feel a desperate need to fill their time with inanity.'
Is Twittering a manifestation of modern loneliness? Outside of the political campaigning advantages one can exploit, I'm having trouble understanding why, if you don't have a public profile to pump up or market, you would do it? The rule of conformity must be playing a part in the massive increase in people Twittering. Or am I totally missing the point?
I suppose I can't miss out the political advantages that twittering offers, especially during a general election campaign; and so like all good lemmings, I will probably sign up this week.
So, watch out, you're about to know when the dog's sick, there's mould on the bread, and what I had for supper. See what I mean? How inane can it get, and how repetitive will it become; and more importantly, how long will it last?