Save the penguins! – or – Anti-Twitterpation


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, 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.



  1. Allie, Dearest on October 28, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    So funny. I just noticed that my Facebook status about trying to stay warm is from yesterday and thought, “Oh, I better write something new.” But then I thought, “No, I really don’t have anything more profound than that to share and that one is still really my status.”

    It was hard.
    But if I can keep on making these difficult decisions, then I will probably save the world a lot of technological headaches.

  2. Isaiah Kallman on October 28, 2008 at 10:04 AM

    In the book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, Neil Postman encouraged his students to take a “Media Fast”. It forced them to take notice and focus on all the things from which entertainment and convenience otherwise distract us.

    Not many books have genuinely revolutionized the way I think, but this one has. There’s my recommendation.

  3. finance girl on October 28, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Annie, this has nothing to do with your post, but another PF blogger wrote about a girl in Nashville who is looking for like-minded friends who want same financial philosophy/goals.

    Additionally, she is 23, and loosely associated with music industry in Nashville.

    Who knows?

    Here you go in case you are interested:

  4. Anonymous on October 28, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    so true. You know, my brain stopped working when I got my iPhone. Now, during my down time instead of thinking and reading I sit and read peoples status updates on my phone….but I could care less. I mostly just read in amazement that so many people actually think everyone else cares that “they just got their starbucks” or “are in the car”. But…I still check it and read all their worthless facts. It’s like an addiction, and my iceburg is filling up fast. Blake

  5. Marijke on October 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM

    I love the part about the “narcissistic twit.”

    Pure. Genius.

    Also, I’ve never gotten behind twitter. Everything else? I’ve clearly fallen prey. But twitter? Hmmm… don’t care.

  6. bec on October 28, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    did you see the article stating that twitter may be used as a tool for terrorism?

    i did. but now i can’t find it. i definitely use it for terrorism though.

  7. Annie Parsons on October 28, 2008 at 3:56 PM

    Becca, was it the article that began with “Terrorists could use Twitter for mayhem”? I didn’t read it… so maybe I shouldn’t laugh… but…

  8. Anonymous on October 28, 2008 at 10:27 PM

    Annie, this is Marijke’s mom. I love your writing style, your sense of humor and your personality even though I haven’t met you. I just wanted to tell you that the oceans are nearly full of the penguins that I have lost over the years. Who knows….that may be the cause of global warming.


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