Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Echo and The Narcissists

In my iGoogle Twitter window there's a lady in Perth live-blogging a stalker at her home while the police arrive. That's mildly interesting and slightly disturbing. Someone tweeted "Good morning, Tweet Peeps!" which made me click the "Unfollow" button. The usual runners and workout grunts are explaining how good they feel having completed a "great run." (I keep them around because they remind me I should do that too.) Others are linking everyone to what song they're listening to and hoping we'll join them in a global singalong. We are the World. Hands Across America.

I get a notice that someone is following me. I see he is also following another 10,000 and has 400 followers. I will not be one of them. He's a specialist in Customer Relationship Management and tweets nothing but. Someone else is following me. She has 25,324 followers and is following about the same number. I don't understand that and don't want to be a part of it. If you're following that many, you can't possibly be paying much attention to many of them. Just to be sure I'm not missing anything worthwhile, I check on what she might be tweeting. I look in at her feed to see nothing but a bunch of retweets, the Twitter way of saying, "I saw this somewhere and wanted you to know that I thought it was worth sharing with all of you."

I said something about real estate in a tweet and five real estate agents instantly started following me. I said something about hating when marathoners talk incessantly about their training and a bunch of marathon-types and runner's magazines started following me. Someone who tweets nothing but positive New Age tripe cloaked as "Inspiration" is about to get deleted from my "Following" list. I guess he thinks he's the world's "Life Coach." Not mine, buddy. Bye.

I say we all just get mini-camera implants in our eyes, and then we can all have our whole lives broadcast on a unique channel. The most interesting lives will have lots of viewers and people will do crazy-dumb stuff to get more viewers, which will mean they can start wooing sponsors to their lives. A guy's eyes will glance down in the morning to pick up a tube of toothpaste. In order to get compensated for the product placement shot, he will need to linger on the tube for about five seconds. The whores can charge a viewer fee so you can watch them do their thing. The self-professed gurus and knowledge-slingers can wax on and on as they drive their kids to soccer practice. ("Daddy, I got an A on my math test!" "Son, I'm talking to my followers right now.") You can keep your Facebook twisted-face pose on all the time, or that goofy trademark tongue-sticking-out thing you do. Think of the world as your bathroom mirror, admiring you as much as you do. Let's all be Balloon Boy's dad, or the desperate dolts who send staged clips to America's Funniest Home Videos.

Everyone's life on constant display. Everything you see, touch, experience, eat, drink and do, you can show the world. We see what you see. We see what you do. We're in your head, sharing your wisdom, your fears, your life. We're at your meals, your job, on your dates, in your dreams.

Sounds like a creepy, far-off Dystopian nightmare. But we're halfway there.

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  • Concise and insightful as usual. Thanks for this.

    By Blogger Andy Jukes, at October 29, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

  • Life got a million times better when I deleted my Twitter account. Twitter made me hate people and my career... what's worse is that many of them were people I actually liked in "real life." All it did was show me how adults are really just big children seeking attention and recognition from others. It's interesting that you're such a hater and you still participate. You a masochist or you just like getting your "tweeps" all riled up? ;)

    By Blogger sara, at October 29, 2009 at 8:09 AM  

  • That's a good question, Sara. I may follow your lead. I didn't give enough credit to the few I follow who bring me good things I can use, even if that's just a small laugh to brighten a shit day.

    I didn't outright delete my Facebook account, but I scrubbed it and don't bother with it. Maybe I'll just go idle.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 29, 2009 at 10:21 AM  

  • [hangs self]


    By Anonymous Oakhurst, at October 29, 2009 at 10:48 AM  

  • With no plans to tweet, I still find it fascinating sociologically/psychologically. What gives? How's this: It's a combination of the current “let's all be celebrities” zeitgeist, indecorous exhibitionism, gratuitous self-absorption, a lack of community in “real life” and an emotionally immature need for external validation. . .which suggests many tweeters may lead miserable, unexamined internal lives of existential fear and dread and unenlightened meaninglessness. . .except for Jetpacks, who is participating to mine it for funny. :p

    By Blogger rebecca, at October 29, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

  • That was very good, Rebecca, but I'm pretty much a wannbe celebrity who needs indecorous exhibitionism to satisfy my gratuitous self-absorption and lack of community.

    I'm also emotionally immature and crave external validation, probably because I lead a miserable, unexamined life plagued by existential fear, dread and meaninglessness.

    But you knew that. Please follow me.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 29, 2009 at 1:37 PM  

  • No.

    But I don't think you are any of the pretentious psychobabble things I wrote half-seriously, half-ironically. I think you're just funny, and you want to share that with us. So, thanks for that!

    By Blogger rebecca, at October 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM  

  • I thought your half-serious things were pretty dead-on about most people. Same goes for Facebook. Living life on display - out of need.

    C'mon - you know you want to join Twitter now - I'll follow you.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 29, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

  • Thinking. . .thinking. . . . . .ummm, no.

    I'm an introvert and perfectionist. Twitter = painful public scrutiny, pressure to be brilliant, funny or mildly interesting. Thanks anyway!

    (Just so you know I could do it if I wanted to, my reason/refusal was exactly 140 characters. . .;)

    By Blogger rebecca, at October 29, 2009 at 2:49 PM  

  • I admire your restraint.

    But please remain a brilliant, funny and mildly interesting commenter.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 29, 2009 at 3:02 PM  

  • ^_^*

    By Blogger rebecca, at October 29, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

  • Great made me think. It IS creepy. I was wildly pissed about an experience with Pitney Bowes, sent out a Tweet to get it off my chest, and within minutes, I get a message from a PB rep asking me how he can help me. I think that contact made me even angrier! Maybe we do it because we're lonely, bored, and/or its a new toy to play with...for now. And I dont know Rebecca is, but she might have nailed it! HA!

    By OpenID adchick, at October 29, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

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