Monday, September 28, 2009

Twitter Rant

Thing 7: Bloggin' 'Bout Technology

Up to this point I have recognized benefits in most of the 2.0 technologies I've explored. Wikis: great for getting information about things from experts, from enthusiasts, from locals. Facebook: great for finding long-lost friends, but I stay away from the Wall. Who has time for that? Delicious: my favorite, the beacon for those seeking to turn chaos into order, to make things sortable and findable. Google docs: what to use when you don't have a flash drive, or when you're worried about losing your opus to a computer snafu, or when you need to run a group project around the group. Flickr is fun, inspiring creativity, saving shipping space in email, making it so easy to pass around pictures to far-flung friends and family. Blogs...well, here I am, a lifelong diarist with a new venue.

But Twitter? This seems a tool fraught with peril. It's a great way to get relevant breaking news. "Your child's school is closing in 30 minutes due to weather." "Obama wins." But the potential for misuse is big. And tempting. The tutorial I saw today gushed about the ability to broadcast messages about the most mundane thoughts and chores. "Mmm coffee..." that sort of thing. This is a good Thing? This is progress? Honestly, I am a busy person; I don't want to be interrupted by tweets announcing that you are enjoying your coffee. These will annoy me and cause me to view you as self-absorbed and lazy (don't you have anything better to do than to think I have nothing better to do than follow your coffee break?) Worse, though, is the use described in Time magazine today (Oct. 5, 2009, page 64): Companies are paying regular folks to plug products to their Twitter followers via a site called Sponsored Tweets. ($29 per tweet. Nice money.) Parents and lovers and teen BFFs might be willing to get those "what are you doing?" glimpses about morning coffee and walking the dog, but when advertisements start to roll in, disguised as greetings, is there anyone who won't draw the line and silence the bird?

But gosh, $29 a Tweet is probably more than I can make as a librarian...

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