Friday, December 31, 2010

Too Many Tweets?

     I found this interesting in my searching of the web.  According to New York Times author Clive Thompson, "Why would you subject your friends to your daily minutiae? And conversely, how much of their trivia can you absorb? The growth of ambient intimacy can seem like modern narcissism taken to a new, supermetabolic extreme—the ultimate expression of a generation of celebrity-addled youths who believe their every utterance is fascinating and ought to be shared with the world" (Brave New World of Digital Intimacy)
     What do you think cyber friends?  Is Thompson true?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  His article goes on to talk about how because of this social craze we no longer lose touch with people.  I mean, think about it.  Fifty years ago you would lose touch with friends over time and those people you hated from high school (you know it's true) would fade off into oblivion.  But, now, we're kind of stuck with those around us with no hope of fading off into the distance.  An interview from the Thompson article equated it to living in a small town where everyone knows your business.  And I think in a way they're right.  But the question remains- is that good?  Is it good to have your past follow you?  Where everyone can log in and become a part of your world even if you stoppped being friends with them thirty years ago?  Should some relationships stay buried?  Oh, sure, you say, just don't log in.  Don't have a facebook acount.  Don't have a twitter account- that's how you avoid the ghosts from the past finding you in you present day.  But I don't think it's that easy.  Social networking and micro-blogs are here to stay and whether you like it or not it truly is a brave new world out there- any maybe there is no where to hide.

Twitter Fever

     When did our society become obsessed with everyone else?  When did we spend so much time focusing on what our neighbors are doing?  Why do we feel the need, at the same time, to broadcast every minute detail of our own lives?  Maybe the obsession started with facebook?  But then again, maybe it started with reality television and the idea that every day people can become celebrities.  It's the idea that our lives are fascinating and that surely everyone should be interested in our daily activities.  No matter where this craze originated, it is true that as a society we have turned the spotlight on ourselves and there is no greater indication of people-obsession than the micro-blogging fascination of twitter.
     According to the website itself, Twitter "is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations" (twitter). Twitter began in July 2006 by founder Jack Dorsey of the Odeo podcasting company.  It was the product of a brainstorming session of how to communicate within a small group and keep others informed.  According to Dorsey, the name twitter "was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds.' And that’s exactly what the product was" (wikipedia).  According to their website, to date, twitter has a  175 million registered users and 300 current employees.
     While your average citizen has begun to get on board this cyber phenemenon, leave it to the celebrities to pave the way.  Brittney Spears, Shaquille O'Neil, John Cleese, Al Gore, MC Hammer, Dave Matthews, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even Lance Armstrong are among the extensive list of celebrities and public figures finding themselves a part of the micro-blogging fun.  Many musial artists and comedians find it to be one of the very best ways to keep in constant contce with their fans while ensuring their stay in the public spotlight.
     But, what are the real benefits of micro-blogging?  Or is it just a fun way to continue our obsession with keeping each other updated?  Are their benefits to the classroom?  More to come in a bit...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where to start?

I know, I know.  It's been forever since I have blogged.  But I have good reason.  First of all, I was innundated with English class essays and they demanded way too much time.  Sometimes I think I chose the wrong profession.  When you have sixty-six essays to grade and each essay runs anywhere from four-seven pages it becomes quite the daunting task.  Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part.  Are you seeing a pattern forming?  Yes, it's true that my blogging experience falls into the same category: difficult to get started.  I have done a lot of research though, and have played a lot on the web at the various web 2.0 tools.  I think I have found some fun 2.0 opportunities and I am looking forward to sharing them with you all.  Do you like how I say "you all" as if I am confident of my web audience. For all I know, I am blogging only to myself.  Or to a lonely cat with a computer.  But I guess that is the joy of blogging.  A delightful opportunity to share my thoughts, feelings, and web technologies to either a giantic world of hungry web-consumers...or a feline friend that spends all day lounging in the sun.  I guess time will tell.