Friday, February 06, 2009

As This Post Demonstrates, 140 Characters Would Not Be Remotely Sufficient To Contain Me

I suspect it's part of the would-be contrarian streak in me, the part that likes to think it's pointing out the nudity when everyone else is admiring the cut of his majesty's new threads, but I tend not to get into things as quickly as other folks.

An example of this was my reaction to the film Pulp Fiction - at the time, everyone was raving about it so much that I actively waited until the attendant fuss had died down before seeing it. I have an almost instinctive mistrust of the 'general opinion' - possibly born of often feeling on the fringes of things at school and college - as well as a tendency to like things with some degree of longevity; I once blew a job interview with a well-known music retailer (at a time when I needed an income) by carelessly stating that I liked music by bands who had at least two albums in them "and not these horribly disposable and interchangable musicians who are here for a couple of singles, there's a big fuss about them, and then they're gone" (into that category I rather feel that Katy Perry may fall, and Lady Gaga too, but time will tell).

In all honesty, I think it's because I don't like to say things which I don't mean, whether deliberately or not; returning to Pulp Fiction for another example, it was voted greatest film of all time in a 1996 Empire film poll, a mere two years after it was made, which struck me as recent memory playing a large part in the voting (and indeed, a decade later, it was no longer top of that poll, having been usurped by … er, another film from 1994 [The Shawshank Redemption]). And on a personal level that kind of thing tends to mean a slightly embarrassed admission that "maybe I was getting kinda carried away with things, caught up".

That's kind of normal on a personal level, though the more public one is in the initial proclamation, the more embarrassing the semi-retraction. Obviously, there are a lot of public figures who've found themselves in this sort of situation over the years (though politicians increasingly seem not to bother with this sort of thing, but that's probably right as they make fewer, and less important, mistakes than the rest of us), and indeed there are some in the spotlight even as I type.

All of which is my typically verbose run-up to explaining why I won't be joining Twitter in any kind of hurry. A couple of friends have urged me to join it with some zeal, and whilst I can see they're enjoying it, and the service is clearly breaking through into the mainstream at the moment, I don't see myself signing up in the immediate future. Maybe I'll think about it once the fuss has died down and if all the people who I'd like to communicate with or 'follow' are still members in a year or so, but given how many people who urged me to join Facebook are no longer participants in it, I do wonder what proportion of my friends who are current Twitterers will be as active this time next year.

For those of you who are keen and eager for me to join, then, it looks as if disappointment awaits. If it's any consolation, much of my scepticism comes from two people of my acquaintance whose Facebook exploits very much coloured my opinion of such matters (and if you wonder why I compare Twitter so much with Facebook, well, isn't it just the Facebook status line? I think it is…). Let's call them persons one and two…

Person One told me that I had to join Facebook, and that if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to contact her in any other way. No e-mails or anything like that, it had to be Facebook or nothing. Oddly dogmatic, as if she was on commission or something, and rather undermined by the fact that friends who do have Facebook accounts say that despite them sending her messages via that method, she still doesn't respond for months at a time. Hmm, not the best advert.

Person Two, I have to say, is someone whose Status Updates are works of inadvertent comedy genius, in that they're the very worst kind of information about her life. If she's not posting cryptic comments such as 'ah well, it'll be okay' which are presumably designed to elicit queries as to what she means, she's posting the most insanely mundane items. The other week stated that she was 'eating Weetabix', which remained current for about ten hours, suggesting either a large bowl or a small spoon - or both. I'm painfully aware that many of my blog entries (certainly including this one) venture into self-absorption and the sharing of trivial minutiae, and I really don't think I - or the world at large - would benefit from me having a new method of telling you what unimportant nonsense I'm up to.

Anyway, all of the above justification-stuff may have the tinge of the negative about it, so by way of trying to leave things on a more jolly note, I would politely point you towards the picture at the top of this post, which I think is a rather good gag on this matter, and also towards the silly reports about the way the musicmaker Calvin Harris has been known to update his status on Twitter. Quite similar to Person Two referred to above, I fear, though I think his tongue may be planted in his tweet, as it were...

I'm not ruling Twitter out forever, but at the moment? Nah. A quick search for my name on t'internet turns up my e-mail address if you want to get in contact with me, and those of you who have the number of my mobile phone (something else I resisted for a long time, incidentally) will be all too familiar with my gramatically-perfect text messages. For the time being, the world will have to content itself with these means of communication.

And some might say - with good reason - that it's more than enough.

3 comments:

Andrew Tibbs: said...

Grammar on mobile texting soon falls by the wayside when you give up trying to find where the punctuation is hidden on the phone you've owned for the past two years!

John Soanes said...

I can imagine!
J

DavidM said...

Well, yeah. But what's wrong with jumping in and enjoying something in the now? If my opinions change further down the line, so what?

The excitement of the new vs fear of not wanting to get 'caught out' about anything at any time.