Self-indulgence in 140 characters or less
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 00:09
The first time I ever visited twitter.com was a few days ago when I decided to put my contempt for the social media site in words.
Twitter: raw information, a tool for the organization of protestors, and the destruction of careless politicians’ careers.
Pew Research Center reported that 15 percent of the United States’ population uses the internet to “use Twitter or another service to share updates about [themselves] or to see updates about others.” So given the many uses Twitter has, it’s clear that the most common is entertainment.
In a WHYY Fresh Air interview, comedian Aziz Ansari commented on the use of tweets in media after his tweet “Fuck you, Geraldo”—in response to Geraldo Rivera’s suggestion that Ansari shouldn’t have worn a hoodie in the wake of the Treyvon Martin incident—was published in the Huffington Post.
“What I failed to realize is that…news outlets will take things that people tweet and quote them as if that’s their statement on something. Obviously if I was talking to the Washington Post that would not be my analysis of the event,” said Ansari.
Although Ansari’s case was admittedly hilarious, that hasn’t been the case for most twuck-ups. Last year, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner was publicly humiliated when he mistakenly posted a photo of his junk on his professional Twitter account.
In addition to destroying both Weiner’s career and the psyche of everyone who saw the photo he posted, Twitter narrows people’s worldview—there is hardly much respectful discussion and debate. If you follow @MittRomney, you probably aren’t following @BarackObama.
On the other end of the spectrum, some have speculated that social media like Twitter aided in the organization of Arab Spring revolutionaries. In the end, technology is inherently neutral; it is up to us to wield it wisely.
So why haven’t I had even an inkling of an itch to sign up for a Twitter account? Because I won’t use it for anything constructive. Because no matter how hard @BBCNews tries, worthy news can’t be reported in 140 characters or less. Because when you make something public, there’s no going back; it could end up in the New York Times. So it looks like Twitterville, at least for me, will just have to wait.