Saturday, April 18, 2009

Twitter... has become stifling to those in the middle of it.

The “ambient awareness” that Twitter promotes — the feeling of incessant online contact — is still intact. But the emotional force of all this contact may have changed in the context of the economic collapse. Where once it was “hypnotic” and “mesmerizing” (words often used to describe Twitter) to read about a friend’s fever or a cousin’s job complaints, today the same kind of posts, and from broader and broader audiences, seem . . . threatening. Encroaching. Suffocating. Twitter may now be like a jampacked, polluted city where the ambient awareness we all have of one another’s bodies might seem picturesque to sociologists (who coined “ambient awareness” to describe this sense of physical proximity) but has become stifling to those in the middle of it.

An interesting perspective, it has to be said...

Twitter still does it for me... but that's because at the crux... it is still an effective communication medium and a meaningful meeting place for my friends.

Thing is... how do you keep it effective and meaningful?

For example, do you follow everyone who follows you? Personally, I don't. I do, however, follow folks who don't follow me... but that because their twitter is an extension of their blog or web presence. It seems to me that if I were to follow anyone and everyone... my Twitter experience could easily become "like a jampacked, polluted city".

I heard someone say recently (I think it was JD... on Twitter) that Twitter was "micro-sharing" not just "micro-blogging". If you look at it in these terms then it makes far more sense.

For me... the most meaningful relationships on Twitter are with people who I either have an intentional mutual-sharing relationship with already or have developed one.

That said... there still remains this duality: people I have a deep connection with... that I converse with... who I share with... whose the tweets inform me... inspire me... entertain me.

and the people where no such relationship exists... but I still benefit from what they share for information, inspiration and entertainment.

What do you think?

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