The Eternal Cocktail Party
One of the things I like least about my job is the necessity to go to cocktail parties and make small talk. I am sure that someplace in Dante’s Inferno is a level where unfortunate souls circulate endlessly and chatter eternally w/o saying anything at all. Now Twitter is spreading the cocktail party experience to all the world all the time and airheads everywhere are elated and vindicated. They seem to feel that when their inane and banal blather is ennobled when it is carried over advanced technology.
Some people bragged that they were twittering during a recent speech by President Obama. I mean they didn’t hide it; they bragged about it. How rude is that? The President of the United States is talking and you are invited to be there in person, but instead of listening, you are talking to others, commenting on what the man is saying before he has a chance to finish his thought. The fact that you are doing it on with your thumbs on an electronic toy only makes it worse. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but if the President is standing in front of me talking, I think it is a good idea to pay attention.
IMO - Twitter is good for sending out notices and very short breaking news, not much else. The idea that people will just share their unformed thoughts is just silly. Not everybody agrees. Take a look at this NYT story.
Think about the kind of people who like – really like – cocktail parties. Do we really want so many more of them? At least at a real cocktail party you have some beer to dull the pain. A little twitter goes a long way. Human attention is too rare and valuable to waste.