I saw a man balancing four lidless paper cups of coffee on an iPad. It happened three months ago, and I still have not tweeted about it. It took me months to blog about it, and now it feels like it’s too late.
It was such a good use of an Apple product, and it was wasted on my lack of Twitter and blogging addiction.
I didn’t know I had started to think in tweets until I realized I had stopped.
When I couldn’t write, I missed writing. But I didn’t miss the constant e-mails, Facebook updates and tweets. And now that my wrist is all better, I vaguely want to go back to my old social media habits, but find that I kind of can’t be bothered.
Twitter is great. I’ve met very interesting, smart and friendly people through Twitter, and they have taught me a lot. But when I read this article about smartphone manners, I realized that I could relate a bit too much to this description of the “inforati” at a conference:
We were adjacent but essentially alone, texting and talking our way through what should have been a great chance to engage flesh-and-blood human beings. The wait in line for panels, badges or food became one more chance to check in digitally instead of an opportunity to meet someone you didn’t know.
After the panel, one of the younger people in the audience came up to me to talk earnestly about the importance of actual connection, which was nice, except he was casting sidelong glances at his iPhone while we talked. I’m not even sure he knew he was doing it. It’s not just conferences full of inforati where this happens. In places all over America (theaters, sports arenas, apartments), people gather in groups only to disperse into lone pursuits between themselves and their phones.
This article describes updating our online presence as a way of making sure we keep sitting at the popular kid’s table. It felt great that people kept following me on Twitter even when I had to stay away from it for weeks at a time. But the opportunity to make new connections must be balanced with the importance of concentrating on what we’re already doing. As a journalist, I consider Twitter part of my job. As a student, I still consider it a research tool. But if I spend too much time sending information out relative to the time I spend studying or having real-life experiences, I will run out of things to say.
Which is why I am wary of people who claim to be “interested in social media”. I think we should try to be more interested in what we’re trying to say, and less obsessed with the fact that we are saying something.