Here’s a rant. Thanks to the power of randomness and that old ‘my ears were burning’ sensation, I somehow happened across a comment on a blog the other day in which my Twitter habits were called into question. The remarks, which were about me only in part, contend that “although [Khoi] hasn’t Twittered in months (again), he’d be worth following if he ever embraces the medium.” Well.
First of all, I’m flattered, really, that anyone considers what I have to say interesting enough in any medium to lament my absence from it, which is one way I interpret what this commenter meant. However, my other interpretation goes a little something like this: “Khoi is not keeping up with his busy work. Tsk. Tsk.”
Work for Idle Hands
In my defense, my Twitter habits are actually quite respectable. (In fact, that link came to my attention via another user after I posted about this critical comment on, yes, Twitter itself.) The frequency of my tweets is by no means torrential, owing mostly to the fact that during the workday I am in fact working and usually find myself unable to compose and compress my thoughts into 140 characters. But my Twitter rate is not exactly anemic, either.
Actually, defending my reputation is not really the point of this blog post. What I mean to say in fact is that this is all leading somewhere I’m not quite sure I’m comfortable with. The commenter on that blog, I’m sure, meant nothing malicious in his mild criticism. However, to me, his remarks inadvertently illustrate a sinister side effect of social networking: it’s never enough. What does it mean, exactly, to “embrace the medium”? Apparently, it means a compulsive dedication to what essentially amounts to busy work: checking in with your followers or friends repeatedly and often, authoring bursts of quasi-communiqués at all hours of the day, continually updating your statuses, tending a limitless onslaught of friend requests, managing an unyielding firehose of housekeeping tasks. It just means spending a lot of time just wasting time. And not just that, but it also means creating all of this busy work for other people, too; creating or updating or inputting more stuff for everyone to read — or more accurately, for everyone to feel they have to keep up with. We’re all blindsiding ourselves and one another with trivial obligations.
Excuse me while I go and post this to Twitter.