While tracking those I follow on Twitter recently, I noticed a series of posts from a colleague lamenting the quality of the material available on the cables, seemingly disguised as news. To paraphrase, my friend moaned (as much as she can complain on Twitter these days) her disbelief that, at a time when more troops will be sent to Afghanistan, the rumor in this nation is more focused on A) a former comedy star. situation coming out of the closet; B) a golf champion cheating on his wife; and C) speculation about the death of an heiress. The conspiracy theorist might argue that the buzzing generated is intentional, to “shake the dog,” so to speak.
The realist, however, will use these examples to assert one more thing that is not really news: people like to gossip. People have gossiped for centuries. Hey, did you hear what happened to Eve in the garden? The fact that we have access to something as unifying as social networks serves to amplify our personal interest in that non-news.
That being said, should one consider being more responsible when using social media like Twitter and Facebook? When we post status updates and share news, we essentially share with the world a taste of who we are in real life. Why do we post the words we choose to share? Some of us use Twitter to promote our projects and businesses, and inform clients and clients about new products and services. Some people use Twitter to vent or offer play-by-play commentary on their favorite shows or sporting events. I couldn’t tell you how many people I follow saw the MTV Music Awards … in fact, I can. Almost everyone made a comment about at least one of Lady GaGa’s dresses.
Still, there are others who look to Twitter, I think, as a means of getting a certain level of celebrity. The likes of a helium-voiced pre-teen named Fred and a comedian with a shoe fetish have proven that it is possible to cross into the mainstream, and the internet offers more avenues to fame than reality TV. We have already learned that plans are in the works to adapt a Twitter account to a sitcom (???), and if you ask me, I suspect that people are dressing strangely on purpose so that someone will take them for Wal people. -Mart’s site.
Is there a fear that we may seem like empty or indifferent people, or do social media challenge us to be more interesting and entertaining, always “active”? Maybe deep down we are all entertainers deep down; When deciding if we can’t be in the limelight, we should at least tweet about it.
That said, maybe we should also take some time out of the day to post social responsibility news and articles. Remind your friends to do a breast cancer self-exam once a month or retweet Amber’s alerts in your area. With the growth in the use of smartphones, one is likely to see news in a feed and do something about it. After work, when we’re ready to chill, we can catch up on the gossip.
Believe me, there is a lot to read.