Thursday, May 07, 2009

communication downfall

It has become more and more disconcerting lately to find that our collective attention span has dwindled to the point that if you can’t say it in 140 characters or less, you won’t get any attention at all. Is blogging dead? Has Twitter killed off the blog as a means of connecting to the world or has it merely maimed it so that it is on its death bed awaiting the final gasp for relevant breath?

Many of the bloggers that I regularly followed have stopped communicating via the blog. They may have succumbed to the allure of the tweet, but I don’t know that for certain. It just seems that people who once used their blogs to set down their ideas, to tell the world of the significant events in their lives, or who just had something to get off their chests have migrated away to the land of the overly succinct. Or perhaps they have stopped blogging simply because they find their efforts at such communication ignored in favor of the next big thing.

I have to admit to coming under the sway of Twitter, much like those people I’m lamenting. Yes, I tweet. There I said it. But I feel so guilty doing it. I have neglected my blog in recent weeks, thinking that the occasional tweet would fulfill my obligation to stay in touch. But every time I scratch out a single one line thought I feel guilty for having left out the more interesting parts. I feel as though my entire life is being abbreviated into quick oneliners, lacking the substance that makes me whole. Others seem to get around the limited number of letters by using multiple tweets about the same subject. So many tweets are followed by second and third and fourth or more tweets on the same subject from the same person that it seems that a more coherent blog post would serve them better. What’s the point of limiting your twittering to 140 characters when you simply follow each tweet with another and then another. First 140, then 280, and then 420, and on to 560 characters, and before you know it you have written a paragraph that has been divided into separate thoughts that would make more sense if the effort was made to put them together in one place. What is the advantage to multiple tweets then?

I can’t help feeling that many who use Twitter as their primary means of connecting to the world are just as dissatisfied with the process. They have been lured into the process by their peers who insist on including them.
I fear we are becoming less communicative with each other while trying to keep up the technological blabbing of nonsense. The vision of people walking down the street with thumbs nimbly traversing their phone keys, pecking out a non-communication to someone who doesn’t care, conjures up a distopian society of people unable to connect with others face to face. While you were pecking at those keys you failed to notice those around you who would welcome a brief smile or a nod of the head or even, God forbid, a verbalized hello. Has our species “progressed” so far that the only way to interact with each other is through a haze of ciberwaves? I hope we aren’t raising a next generation of entranced cyberzombies unable to interact on a face to face basis without the aid of iPhones and iPods, Will they be able to construct a coherent declarative sentence without weird abbreviations? Will they even be able to read more than a sentence or two at once without losing their concentration. Tweet if you must, but only as a last resort. Our intellectual future wellbeing is at stake.

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