Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tweets and Twits

I am fascinated by people's use of Twitter. They tweet everything from "I am having lunch" to some of their deeper psychological states, such as self loathing, or state of sobriety. What interests me is their staunch belief that by sharing such intimate details of their lives on a minute by minute basis with their followers that somehow they will be closer to that community.

It is an illusion of intimacy based on tweets that are typed into a telephone throughout the day. The Tweets are not merely "where are you lets meet for coffee" but expressions of angst and sometimes painful loneliness.

I think some Twitter addicts actually believe that they are maintaining and nurturing friendships in this way and that their endless prattle about what they are doing fosters intimacy. Intimacy cannot be attained by this way. Intimacy involves physical contact, of having a cup of coffee with your friend, of going to a movie with someone..of being physically present. A few clicks on a keypad and a send is a very poor substitute for real communication and presence.

I suspect that people search for intimacy in tweets and post very personal and revealing details about themselves. Do they hope that their audience will respond to them? What if you tweet and no one replies?

Twitter gives one the illusion of having friends, much like 'friends' on facebook. It allows you to share thoughts, feelings and actions with an audience that may or may not care. Real intimacy and real community cannot be maintained or nurtured in this way. To tweet in the hopes of connecting with others is to be a twit.

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