[Twitter is] like a sort of internet Ren Fair. Its like Dungeons & Dragons but for cool people who have got friends. – Craig Ferguson
Anyone who knows me in real life, anyone who knows the voice behind these words, will tell you I’m a talker. A fast talker. A chatterbox. A gabber. I love great cocktail party conversation. Sometimes twitter has that feel – minus the cocktails and canapés. People mingle, conversations cross, people are introduced, a particular subject causes your ears to perk up, to grab your attention and turn your head. I love it.
I use other social media less and less. Last week, I finally updated to Facebook’s Timeline, and I saw so clearly why it had lost its appeal.
Before your Timeline goes live, you have the option of going through your past posts, editing what you do or don’t want to share, adding events or changing them (hello, Minority Report). That concept sort of freaked me out. Adding and subtracting seemed sort of strange, especially adding. I was simply curious to see the thing assembled on this virtual conveyer belt, like the Chocolate Factory episode of I Love Lucy.
So, I published and my first thought was to delete it (I didn’t). There was nothing about the content that was bad, but my timeline felt like the most narcissistic rant ever, with a few birthday greetings and a round or two of Word Scraper thrown into the mix.
It reminded me of that scene in the movie Beaches (one of two that don’t make you cry) when Bette Midler is going on and on about herself and stops, realizing she hasn’t let anyone get a word in, to say, “But enough about me, let’s talk about you… what do you think of me?”
If Twitter is the cocktail party of social networking, then Facebook is like a monologue on open mike night. The crowd may unexpectedly chime in, but it’s all about you. And those status updates are really…what’s the opposite of riveting?
There’s something to be said for communal conversations. From the ancient marketplace to party lines, conference calls to iChat. I love the interconnectedness. Last week, I happened to tweet about an upcoming film to one friend and then someone else tweeted that they’d been waiting to find out when it was coming out. It sparked a great conversation about our love for the history of the City of Angels (a subject I just wrote a bit about on BlogHer, here). I love twitter. I love LA. Timeline, meh.
Twitter strikes a balance I like. It doesn’t replace my real life interaction with people, but it does enhance the conversation. And it absolutely, positively proves once and for all, that in my life, six degrees of separation is rarely more than three degrees. Often just one or two.
And now, a few great things someone else said about conversation:
It’s no company at all, when people know nothing and say nothing. – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Conversation should be like juggling; up go the balls and plates, up and over, in and out, good solid objects that glitter in the footlights and fall with a bang if you miss them.-Evelyn Waugh
Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating. – Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf. – Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid