Sunday, January 25, 2009

"So Random, So Rare!"

Being a bore was, quite simply, not permitted in my family of origin; a boisterous fivesome of Southern storytellers.  We each only opened our mouth if there would be an object lesson or some other punch line at the end of our utterance.  My folks never told me to “add value.” Hey, they'd never touch something like that Yankee Harvard Business Review.  They were just following their own Southern tradition in which boring others was seen as a high form of selfishness.

Forgiveness was irrelevant; pity was the standard reaction given to the self-centered offending bore. A quietly murmured,  "Thay jez don git it,"  came way before the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas confirmation saga gave rise to the feminist rant about men's cluelessnesson on harrassment issues, "They just don't get it!"

Enter Twitter.  Didja see the NYT article by David Pogue this month that points to the Twitter Paradox.  News flash social media mavens  à People don’t really want to know “What You’re Doing” which is the question appearing above Twitter's empty 140character field.  They only want to know what you're doing if it’s wittily stated or perhaps includes a useful outside reference.  The idea is to add value, not --yawn-- compulsively self-disclose.  Agreed, I’ve read way too many management texts.

But give it a nanosecond of thought here.  If Twitter really was about marveling at our own belly buttons and chirping about it; could it have grown this fast?  The thrill of an immediate cross-section of humanity, articulating  answers, forwarding referrals, and mostly riffing off of others’ ideas, juxtaposes the collaborative intuitive concepts of jazz with the prosaic desiccation of a reality-starved geek living vicariously through his keypad. Right brain style and left brain obedience to procedure are thrown together on Twitter, which is,  as Laurie Anderson says in Home of the Brave’s Smoke Rings, "so random, so rare!

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