Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Twitter Time! guest Blogger, Steve Head

But first, a word from our sponsor!
At every turn, someone twitters or talks about tweets. Even the host of my addicting A.M. pseudo news shows are twittering...some while they are supposed to be talking to me, helping me to wake up, getting my morning started with a bright smile and some cheery story to start my day. Instead, they are pushing buttons before my eyes, and then the TV screen fills with a view of the tweeterer's computer screen, showing the *#%&^ tweets.

I adore Drew Barrymore - always have - ever since she played adorable Gertie in ET, but this morning, she solidified my adoration. She was supposed to promoting her new movie, "Grey Gardens." Instead, she did a Drewish rant on technology. She has no Facebook. She figures if she hasn't contacted someone in twenty years, there must be a reason. She still uses a yellow, rotary phone. And she will not Twitter. Even though the whole "Grey Gardens" concept disturbs me (saw enough of the documentary to determine that) I will go...because it's Drew. My bud!

Here's our guest blogger, Steve Head's, take on Twitter:
I had a boss the often used the line "you know you are _____when _____". Lately, I've been feeling "You know you are old when...". Even though I am a guy, and love electronics and gadgets, it took me a while to make the switch to CD's back in the 90's. And even though flat screen, digital TV's are five years old, I have not acquired one yet. I still use a cell phone I acquired in 2004 -no camera, browser, or jukebox included. PDA - had one - did not like it. IPod/MP3 player - not interested. I have not even tried teeth whitening so Blue Tooth is out of the question.
The introduction of the fax machine back whenever, was viewed as a revolutionary development. At first, it was used similar to long distance. For those old enough to remember - getting a long distance call probably meant bad news, and it was always expensive for the caller. Businesses purchased a single machine, and judiciously monitored usage. Then computer peripheral manufacturers bundled printer, scanner, and fax into a single device. Now fax machines are ubiquitous, and we can order coffee and bagels, apply for a loan, and make restaurant reservation without uttering a word to another human.
I recall my first mobile phone. It was big, came in a black leatherette bag, and plugged into my car lighter. In less than six months, it was an antique, and handheld units that hung from belts or were stored in purses were available. Like the fax machine, the cell phone went through a cycle starting with professional people and gadget freaks before exploding into an everyman essential. My first observation with this development was that most people's telephone conversations were trivial, annoying, and much too public. While I am not a fan of texting as it has perverted the language, it is much quieter and not in the least bit annoying unless you become the target of some text terrorist making threats or promises. Easy to block.
But the event that precipitated my "You know you are getting old when..." moment is the constant reference to "twitter" and "twittering". I am not entirely certain what this new faux communication method is all about, but the mere idea of being labeled a "twit" -i.e. "one who twitters" - is revolting. I accept being called a nerd, geek and old fart - reluctantly to that last one. But a "twit" is simply one label too far.
If ANY of these developments - fax, cell phone, texting, or twittering - have improved out ability to honestly and intelligently communicate with one another, to better appreciate and understand our similarities AND differences, to make this a better place to inhabit, I would sing their praises, sign petitions, and march in the street. My concern is they distract us with the trivial, contribute to the national attention deficit disorder, and foster alienation.
bout a year ago, I took a job at an institution with a "culture of greeting". That means when you encounter another person, you are expected to acknowledge them with a "Hi," "Morning," or similar greeting. Nothing elaborate or intrusive, even a smile may do. This small action has interesting results. It requires you to make eye contact, notice and register the other person for a moment, and share something. While it is not world peace, it is a move in a direction away from the depersonalization and isolation all our electronic gadgets provide under the guise of "communication".
I am getting old. And age should result in wisdom and not just antiquity. Although I do wonder at the consequences of disconnecting from the bullet-train of technology. Will I live long enough to see my entertainment technology become the equivalent of the 8-track tape?
I am getting old, and that is not a bad thing.
Coming next week...THE DOG BLOG!

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