But I'm here to talk about my brilliant observation about Twitter lately which is that people really, really want to be "popular" or liked.
Let's talk about "ME".
I'm sure every decade has had it's share of "Me" fads. We have the "Me" generation which I'm told is made up of any one born in the 70s, 80s and 90s which means ME as well. We (those born during those decades) have reasonably become fascinated by the "self" and the exploration of it. It makes good psychological sense that we would, as technology and medicine progress, want to make the most of our youth and discover "our selves". I say "our selves" because it seems to me that as we go through life discovering what makes us tick, we find there are many selves lurking below the surface. Again, with technology advancing, we are now able to entertain as many interests as we like, meet many new people without leaving home and present to the world as many versions of ourselves as we like.
I think I'm straying off point ...
Here we are, young people with the world at our keyboards, reaching out to others like us and serving up this "version" or that of who we "are". Do we know yet ourselves who we "are"?
This is where Twitter comes in. My motivation for setting up a Twitter account was to see what the buzz was about. I found I made many updates about eating PB&J. I took a long time off from Twitter only to find that we've moved past 140 characters about what we're doing, what we're seeing, where we are to dirty jokes, a lot of messages begging people to "follow" someone and so forth. It's like a weird little social experiment, an Internet petri dish of personalities and fetishes.
It's interesting to me as it suites me just fine. As my bio on Twitter says "short bursts of the profound or profanity? you be the judge." That's always gone for my journal and for my life in general. I'm a some times deep, some times deeply twisted girl and I like it that way.
What's funny, is I see people with similar twisted minds but I see these glimpses of "what the Hell am I saying?" and worries of "who will see this and judge me". That's totally normal, to worry that people will judge you if only the knew "the real you". But back to "the sense of self" ... who IS the "real you"?
We're a part of the ME generation, a generation of young people who are aided by technology in the hunt for "self" and sharing with others who we are. Or maybe who we are today, or tomorrow.
I think back on it like this, first (for me any way) there was IRC. Oh good ol IRC with it's old skool text only interface and asterix action statements like *rubs tummy*. I of course still use these all the time.
At some point there were MUDs, then Instant Messaging, Myspace, then Facebook, Twitter and a whole plethora of other sites devoted to "what are you doing?". We share our inner most desires, fantasies and fears with total strangers along with our photos. We see stuff all the time on the news about how these things are more permanent than we know. Employers are making employment decisions not just on your merit as an employee, but your credit score AND your social networking profiles.
Big Brother, is that YOU?
I'm ranting now ...
Here we are, getting to know one another. It's all familiar to me because I made some great friends on IRC back in the 90s. I had fun on MUDs in the late 90s. I've met some interesting people "in real life" from livejournal (and one just plain scary person). I got back in touch with old friends and school mates with Myspace and have continued finding people on Facebook while simultaneously keeping in touch with my best friends out of state. And as I've said, Twitter is another freaky ball of wax all together. (Is that melted candle wax I smell?)
I'm still ranting ...
Really, we are a generation of young people who are very "self" oriented. I think about all the things people my age haven't had to face. We haven't seen a major world war and been forced to raise Victory Gardens or use ration tickets. We didn't see JFK or Martin Luther King get shot and our biggest tragedy was probably when Kurt Cobain died (ok if you're in my age group, not if you're younger). We have iPods, iPhones, texting and every thing is so instant. Of course we're focused on ourselves and every tiny detail of what we do on a moment-by-moment basis because we don't know real poverty.
Don't get me wrong when I say "we don't know real poverty". We do know and see poverty all over the world but I think I'm mainly speaking to Westernized societies and especially the US. Look,I grew up "poor" but not the way my Dad did and not the way that my family did before and during the Depression. I've never stood in line at a soup kitchen but I have had food donated to my family by the church. There is the poverty our great grandparents knew and there is the poverty people in the "ME" generation know. We may all be struggling on one level or another but we have so much, even to loose a little is like having your whole life taken away.
ME ME ME. Let's talk about ME.
I'm suddenly thinking Fight Club and Tyler's monologue (click here to read it).
I think I'm going off the deep end but in the end, where it's shallow, we have been raised to think that some day we will be movie starts or rock gods but we won't. What's the next best thing? The Internet. And the "self" we are so desperately trying to find.
If you see mine, tell her I'm looking for her ... right after I post this.