Thursday, June 21, 2007

Time and Twitter

Time is the endless subject. Oh and I guess, Value. How to spend one's time. How to spend one's time the best way. How not to waste time. I'm a huge time waster. I get things done but slowly and erratically. I move forward but hardly in a straight line. I think about time. I worry about time. When Rebecca had my insight personality profile done alongside her non-profit, "...could use help with time management" figured prominently.

Only so many hours in a day. And way too many ways to spend them. I don't jump out of bed like you read of captains of industry, or yoga masters, or writers. I stall, I go back to sleep, I worry about what to wear, and what next I'll do. I wake slowly. The day continues, filled with activities that other's might call hobbies, or as my longtime astrologer laughed, "a life you should have been born into money to lead." Around 10pm I get a second wind. I start to focus. Overall, things get done, perhaps not the most important, but still things get chipped away, experiences had.

But really today, what I'm thinking about is Twitter. Twitter, for those of you who don't know, is like crumbs in the forest. It's a line you post from your phone or computer - saying something like, "just had coffee with joe" or "standing in line at the bank." I first stumbled across it during the Sundance fest coverage. Lately, I've noticed Matt Dentler is using it more and more. Austinite, sxsw film fest producer, and inveterate blogger, Matt's clearly of an entirely different generation - chronically multi-tasking, and living his life out in public. His blogging, a daily must read, has everything to do with breaking down my initial resistance. But now Twitter? I read his daily messages, and wonder what is this??? They show up in a list with all my regular blog reads, and I can't help but wonder, who are they for? Who needs to know where he had dinner? Who's he writing them for? Why I'm reading them? And of course it's not just him! Apparently Twitter's gaining millions of twitters daily. It's addictive of course, but is it more than that?

Here's an interesting perspective by Kathy Sierra, creator of Creating Passionate Users blog. Excellent read.

Twitter scares me. For all its popularity, I see at least three issues: 1) it's a near-perfect example of the psychological principle of intermittent variable reward, the key addictive element of slot machines. 2) The strong "feeling of connectedness" Twitterers get can trick the brain into thinking its having a meaningful social interaction, while another (ancient) part of the brain "knows" something crucial to human survival is missing. 3) Twitter is yet another--potentially more dramatic--contribution to the problems of always-on multi-tasking... you can't be Twittering (or emailing or chatting, of course) and simultaneously be in deep thought and/or a flow state. (cont)

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