To Twitter or not to Twitter, that is the question. The revelation of David’s recent Twitter “follower” brought up an interesting discussion on TDC today, much of which is reprinted here. Happy, freo and TOfan weigh in below. How about you? … Do you Twitter?
Happy: Many Twitter-haters like me hate Twitter in large part because its use for recreation reinforces the loss of boundaries and propriety in contemporary society. It is becoming commonplace to say and act universally the same regardless of who and where you are. People have lost a sense of boundaries, they wear the same thing to school as they wear to bed; to church as they wear to the beach. They actually had to make it part of the dress code in my son’s school- “no pajamas” and “no underwear on the outside.” More and more kids use language with adults in the same manner as they speak to their friends, people need to have signs posted, “Please don’t talk on your cell phone when conducting business.” Didn’t craigslist recently warn, “Don’t use our site for criminal activity” ?
Maybe Twitter should post the following warning, “Since the very nature of our product is to encourage a ‘contemporary-form-of-cyber-stalking’ even among regular folk, if you are a certifiable nutjob please be careful when revealing your stalking tendencies, it will freak people out.”
Twitter can be harmful to nonpublic people as well as public people; noncelebrities are stalked too. Once upon a time, before “twitter” was coined, the word for an unusual curiosity about the personal behaviors of another person was “voyeurism,” and it was considered unhealthy. I realize Twitters are inviting the window into their personal life, but I see “twitter” and “voyeur” as cousins.
In my opinion, when used as a form of fun it also presents problems. Many people seek celebrity and many want to elevate themselves to “celebrity status” in their own minds, in their own real corner of their own real lives. Twitter is a tool that can make you a “celebrity in your own mind.” This twittering encourages the adolescent notion that “the world revolves around me.” Why? Why would my ego think that anyone should or would care about where I am every moment or what I just ate?
Most often this is the way it goes with technology. Tools are developed and rarely are all of the ramifications and uses recognized at the outset. I see that Twitter can be used effectively in a professional manner for individuals and businesses to promote and advertise their events free of traditional advertising costs. Provided you don’t make your living in advertising that can be a good thing. But as a personal tool I do not see it as a technological advance that improves the quality of lives.
TOfan: I feel very sad saying this but, Twitter or no Twitter, stalkers/OTT fans are a fact of life for every celebrity (as are paparazzi). When the meet-and-greet events first started during the A.I. tour, I half-jokingly suggested to someone that, if I were Jeff or Lupe, I’d keep a copy of every photo taken with fans at those sessions for future reference.
Twitter isn’t the problem, it’s the cult of celebrity that’s the problem. I agree, Happy, that boundaries have gone the way of the Dodo, but even before the Internet, unstable personalities were fixating on their “idols.”
At least these “social networking” tools allow the authorities to know what these troubled people look like. It’s terribly sad that David, who enjoys meeting and knowing his fans, won’t have that freedom soon, but safety has to be the first priority.
A couple of days ago, I read an article that predicted Twitter was doomed to fail. Why? Because Oprah was growing tired of it … and you know what that means….
Pre-David’s tweets, I saw no point to Twitter (except for the chronically self-absorbed). But his tweets have been so dang charming, another channel through which he could share his adorkableness … mindless, maybe, but another way to connect with fans.
When someone tweeted him to point out how many “followers” (such a loaded word!) he had, I wondered if that maybe freaked him out … it should, methinks….
Freo: I am mostly in favor of Twitter. It is enjoyable to hear about the artist’s everyday events and it opens the lines of communication. I enjoy sending messages of support. My only concern is that more artists are being pressured to use Twitter with their fans and that it can break down private boundaries too much.
Finally, if you must Twitter may we suggest you Twitter politely?