If forced to sum up today’s culture in 140 characters or less, “I tweet, therefore I am” would fit the bill. On a more personal note, so would, “I tweet, but only because I’ve bought into the madness and feel I have no choice. PS I stink at it. Not #winning.” (27 characters to spare).
If you’re not on Twitter, do you even really exist? The nearly 150 million registered users (and counting…) happily tweeting every day, multiple times a day, might argue that you don’t. And so would every public relations guru, executive search recruiter, tastemaker, trendsetter, and human being age 30 and under.
Tweeting isn’t even the new Black because it’s no longer new. But it’s being pushed like it’s the cure for cancer by media outlets everywhere, making it the new must-do on an ever-growing daily list that’s getting longer and longer by the millisecond.
That’s the first thing I hate about Twitter. It’s another insatiable beast. Another obligation to cram into every finite 24-hour cycle of my life, alongside checking email constantly, sending birthday wishes to all my Facebook friends, responding to new LinkedIn requests and a never-ending stream of text messages, several of which are from my children.
Speaking of which, none of these new tech additions to the daily grind have replaced any of the old-school responsibilities, like doing my job and volunteer work, taking vitamins, checking on my mom, working out, feeding, chauffeuring, and carving out “quality time” with those texting kids of mine, and praying that I can do it all and still have “me-time.” Of course, that’s a joke. But nobody’s laughing because they don’t have time (note to the world: typing “LOL” in a text, IM, BBM, evite, email, or tweet is NOT the same as actually laughing).
Here are the seven other things I hate about Twitter, in random order, since tweeting is as random a reality as there ever was.
- The Plato (Gandhi, Aristotle, Gil Scott Heron… just insert your favorite philosopher here) Complex: Hey, I love a nice bit of morning inspiration as much as anybody, but why does everybody on Twitter seem to believe that their (un)original thought for the day is worth sharing? Enough already.
- Plagiarism Run Amuck: I know 140 characters poses a challenge, but quoting someone without identifying them is bogus. Truly great minds deserve to be recognized, not plagiarized.
- Self-Promotion Central: America has fallen behind in scientific innovation, excellence in education, manufacturing and job creation, but we keep unveiling new ways to put ourselves out there. This is yet another one. Enough already.
- You’re Not My Mama: Twitter is a Mecca for do’s and don’ts. Don’t cry over the past. Don’t stress about the future. Don’t try to get haters to love you. Don’t believe the hype. Don’t confuse… Don’t forget… Please! Don’t tell me what to do (or not do). My mother’s already got that covered.
- The News at 5:05, 5:07, 5:11: Twitter is not my news source and it shouldn’t (especially given the character limit) be yours. I don’t need you to re-report the day’s headlines. Even if you’re an actual newscaster, tell me something new.
- Insanely Inane: Honestly, even if I know and love you, I don’t care if you’re making a PB&J sandwich, about to take a nap, boarding a plane, hitting the mall or kickin’ it in the pool (really? With your Blackberry?). Stop it.
- Braggers Beware: I am proud of you for rising with the sun to get in your five mile run to the gym where you swam 80 laps before spin class. Truly. Congratulations. Now zip it.
I could go on and on. Seriously. But I have too much else to do, tweeting about this, included. Feel free to do the same. I know. That seems hypocritical of me. I prefer to think of it as “ironic.” Like the author Terry McMillan who often tweets more than 20 times a day yet raves about a cut-off device she has on her computer called Freedom. It prevents her from going online for up to eight hours at a time.
“It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you disconnect from everything online,” McMillan gushed… on Twitter. (Follow me @CarolineVClarke)