Re the title of this entry: Gertrude Stein’s “there is no there there.”
I’ve been Twittering for a couple of weeks now after resisting for months. It finally came to me… why Twitter (some call it micro-blogging as you’re limited to 140 characters) has taken off and what need it fills.
Twittering puts the “here” back in the “there”
It fills a need we have not only for connecting with other like-minded folks, but for locating them – and ourselves – in an actual, earthly place and space.
Reading the Tweets of those you “follow” gives you tiny jolts of temporal/spatial awareness: exactly what are your colleagues or friends doing, and where are they? Now you can find out.
Not every Tweet, of course. Some of the updates are pointers to blog posts or other timely references.
Ultimately, the vague sense of “we’re all online” and “in the cloud” together” is disconnecting and can make us feel more lonely. (Studies have shown this.) In contrast, the more tangible “It has finally stopped raining” (Kristen Munson aka Social Media Mom ) or “tea break” (Sun Zhifeng twittering from Shanghai) is comforting. Hey, we’re all real people.
Above is an example of a Tweet this morning from newmediajim (aka Jim Long) who updates us all day on his doings as a freelance TV photojournalist. He’s often at the White House or on Capitol Hill.
It’s Cherry Blossom week in Washington DC and apparently the downtown streets are jammed with tourists. Thanks for the update, Jim.
9,000 Twitter followers: what does that mean?