Is Twitter Just a Big Ego Trip?
I recently signed up with twitter. Similar to my facebook status, I don’t update it very often. I struggle internally with the questions like: Why would anyone want to read the mundane details of my life? Why would I waste hours of my day reading about other peoples mundane details? Is this entire thing a big ego trip or digital narcissism?
Then there are other moments when I think I get why it is getting so huge. I connected with an old friend in another city, I talk about with friends something significant that happened to me, I read thoughts that encourage or inspire me.
…the claim that Twitter is nothing but mindless inanities is just as wrong as the analogous claim for blogs — in fact it’s precisely the same claim, five years later. There are other things you can do with the technology — the technical terms are “lifecasting” [here's what I had for dinner] vs. “mindcasting” [here's a thought, a question, an observation, a link to something more substantial].
—Sean Carroll, “Twitter Agonistes,” Discover, April 23, 2009
My current questions are: Have the “lifecasters” ruined my view of how this could be useful? Have I been too quick to judge? Do I need to rethink why and how I use it?
I think that instant moment by moment connections are increasingly having profound effects on our culture – both positive and negative. Often I feel the response is either to run from the technology because of the possible negative effects, or mindlessly embrace it. Things like Twitter are not going away. I believe we are responsible to seek to understand it, dialog what it’s effects are, and seek a thoughtful response to it.