October 28th, 2008

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Save the penguins! – or – Anti-Twitterpation

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Yesterday, I was this close to writing about Twitter, and calling it “N is for NOBODY CARES.” But I figured that all of you Tweety Birds would be hurt. And when I’m honest, isn’t this blog just one big, festering, narcissistic Twit? Or whatever.

So instead of ranting about our culture’s obsession with broadcasting the minutia and detritus of our lives, I figured that I would just go ahead and continue broadcasting the minutia and detritus of MY life. But I’ll try to do it using words like “minutia” and “detritus.”

When my friend Aaron Chan started med school, a professor drew an iceberg on the board. “This is your brain,” he said. He began to add tiny penguins on top of the iceberg, saying, “These are the things that you know.” Eventually, the iceberg was so crowded with penguins that “at some point, inevitably, penguins start to fall off.”

Twitter is pushing my penguins off the ledge.

To be fair, it’s not just Twitter: Facebook, MySpace, blog updates, text messages, email, and all sorts of other technological “ways of knowing” are cramming and jostling their way onto my iceberg. I can’t keep up – but more than that, I don’t WANT to keep up. I honestly do not care where my 922 Facebook friends are at all times (brushing your teeth, in line at Starbucks, reading CNN.com, going to church, at a bookstore, grocery shopping, sitting at your desk, eating potato chips, what-have-you). It doesn’t mean that I don’t care ABOUT these people, that I don’t care about YOU – it’s just that for the first time, we humble laymen have the capability and the technology to mass-inform… and we, myself included, have gotten a bit slaphappy about it.

So. What to do? Give up the internet? Erase my online footprint? Boycott status updates? Feel more and more aggravated as my brain is cluttered by people’s Twittery Tweets, crowding out important information like birthdays and bible verses and when was the last time I changed my Brita water filter? I can’t hide from the internet – it’s unstoppable, like… like a train that… can’t be stopped.

Whoops. There went my simile penguin.

Please. For the love of flightless, aquatic birds. Let’s attempt to be more responsible, intelligent, and discerning with what we are unwittingly forcing upon each other’s icebergs. I’ll try if you will.