During a period of socializing in London and New York in late March and early April, I got bombarded by requests – no, demands – to make myself visible both on Facebook and Twitter. iJamming! was not enough, said my friends. The paradigm, they said, had shifted (again): nobody’s reading blogs, they said, they’re all busy hanging out on Facebook, they said, at least when they’re not busy tweeting, they said (hanging out on Facebook and Tweeting while saying so).
I have, as a point of principle, avoided Facebook like the plague; I didn’t need another intrusion on my time, and I feel like, largelty thanks to iJamming!, which will be ten years old next year, that I’m in contact with all the old friends I wish to be in contact with. I have to say also that, during my lengthy period of resistance, I believe Facebook mania to have peaked already. Still, I recognize by the number of times I’ve been invited to join Facebook that many of my friends use it as their homepage; and fortunately, a couple of those friends – stand up and take a bow, Matt and Angela – decided to bite the bullet on my behalf and set up a Facebook page for me. It’s a “fan” page, which is somewhat different from a regular personal page in ways I don’t fully understand, and you’re welcome to join it, here. For those who use Facebook as their primary way of staying in contact with the world and its blogs, know that we figured a way for my iJamming! posts to be uploaded onto my Facebook page immediately. You have to follow through a couple of clicks to “view original post” but if that’s what it takes, it’s fine by me. It’s certainly a painless process at this end.
Twitter is a different story. Used as it is by the masses, Twitter is hopelessly inane: who, after all, really needs to receive a tweet from someone to inform us that their plane just landed safely (I always tell my family, if I die in a traffic accident, I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon enough), or what they’re planning for dinner, or whether they’re heading off to the football or whether it’s raining in Manchester? On this, I would appear to agree with iJamming! reader Baby Jebus who wrote in a recent comment: “The only reason to tweet is if you have an ego problem and believe that every single pointless incident in your life must be shared with someone. No one cares. Resist adding to the tide of virtual shit that threatens to engulf us all. Save the planet and your dignity.”
But at the same time, some people are born to tweet, primarily those who are good at one-liners. Peter Jervis, a.k.a. iJamming! Pubber Jaffo, who I’ve known for almost 30 years know, is a perfect example. His tweets are continually hilarious: “#beatlesfacts George Martin worked with the Beatles but he doesn’t like to drone on and on about it.” “Wallet – check, phone – check, sullen teenagers in back – check, look out Weymouth here we come.” I don’t mind getting headlines from the BBC, music recommendations from NPR’s All Songs Considered, and I love the spoof Ted Nugent tweets: “Accidentally shot the neighbor’s pony. Thought it was a wild zebra. Guessing homeowner’s insurance won’t cover this. KLSTRPHK!!!”
I’m not witty like that. As if you haven’t noticed, I write too much, too often. I’m always cursing the fact that my iJamming! posts start out intended as a single paragraph and end up as an essay; I’m always wishing I could just say something in a single sentence and move on. And it’s for this reason that I find the challenge of the 140-character post quite enticing. Can I recommend a book, a movie, a bottle of wine or a record in a single sentence? Or express how I feel, emotionally or physically – with either some rhythm, some rhyme or least some reason? And if I attempt to do this, am I copping out from a lifelong commitment to what I would like to call quality writing? I’d like to believe not; if anything, I’d hope that the Tweet would reinforce the value of economy in writing. In summary, I signed up, I’ve been tweeting occasionally for the last few weeks, trying to hone my style and learn from the masters, and I’ll continue to “tweet” when it makes more sense that writing a whole iJamming! post. For those who don’t have the time or inclination to sign up to Twitter (and who can blame you?), know that just as my iJamming! posts are over at Facebook, my “tweets,” which I have recoded as “QuickBits” are now on the iJamming! sidebar, off to your right. You can check in on them there. Or you can “follow” me on Twitter here.
I still prefer communicating publicly via iJamming! – either on the front page, the comments section, or in the Pub – and privately via e-mail. But in our interconnected, internetted world, there are different horses for different courses (a cliché that I assume to be a racing reference, not a food one); take your pick and place your bets and I’ll see you – metaphorically, but of course – somewhere on the web.