Starbucks Writing #2

Documenting Our Lives

Recently I’ve become a lot more connected with social networking sites, and I’ve taken a quick liking to Twitter; being able to issue a thought as it comes into my mind. But what is this doing to my thinking?

I’ve started to analyze what sites and services like Twitter have been doing to my world and my view on everything. My thoughts have become quick jabs of information, and yet, when I finish an email, it is consistently longer than it needs to be. I’ll write an email just to clarify something with a boss or a professor, and I’ll end up going on for four paragraphs, explaining myself to a point where I’m sure it comes across as annoying. Yet when I jump on Twitter, I explain myself in 140 characters or less.

Even as I sit here working on my senior project ideas, and trying to come up with a place to even start, I find that I am trying to summarize myself in short bursts. When it comes to a business plan, or a big project, I’ve learned that to make sure the job gets done correctly, one needs to consider every minuet detail. The place to begin is “Why am I doing this? What am I trying to accomplish?” Twitter doesn’t help in this stage. One needs a goal (something intangible but able to be accomplished), objectives (steps to get that goal completed), and strategies (tangible steps to accomplish the objectives).

I am a visual person. Before I can imagine what something will be, I need something to represent that. As I am working on my senior project, I find that I need a name and a picture to represent what I am trying to accomplish, otherwise I cannot get started anywhere. I feel like Twitter and subsequent social media sites have robbed us of taking the time to really understand something, and give us an outlet for our immediate reaction. I find it happening with songs on a regular basis. I listen to a song, it makes me feel a certain way, and I post lyrics on Twitter or I talk about the song and the artist. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but what are we really doing when we create that moment?

It almost feels like we are taking the time to solidify our lives in that space and time of our lives. We are creating a memorial to go back and look at. When we are sad, we go back and look at the good times we had and it gives us hope. There are some of us (myself included) that, when we are sad, we go and look at the sad and depressed times in our lives, and it throws us further into depression.

The same is with Facebook. We have the ability to go back in time and see how we were feeling when a certain event happened in our lives. I took two hours one day and went all the way back to the first day I was ever on Facebook. What did I see? I saw a much less mature version of myself, and was disgusted at what I posted. I’m sure if I went back and looked at my 4000+ Twitter posts, I would see the same thing. But do we necessarily need this in our lives? Is it necessary to have every bit of our lives documented, and even then, in just text?

I find myself gravitating toward apps like Instagram because it forces me to take a picture to remember the moment. This is better than simply writing what you have felt. You have a tangible piece of information captured in a picture.

I don’t know what any of this has to do with anything, it’s just what I needed to get out today. Plus I’m at Starbucks and wanted to write, so I just started typing. Enjoy it if you will. Let me know what you’re thinking.

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