by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/09/22 03:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/09/22/8960804.aspx
I recently had an epiphany, about some of the ultra-fast communication technologies such as TEXT'ing and Twitter (aka blogs for the ADHD).
It came up because I was having dinner with someone who happens to be a big twitterer.
My exact words were along the lines of "this is the first time I have worn pants in months."
As the statement alludes to, I was wearing pants at the time. Though I was wearing sandals, sans socks. I only know of two people these days whose company I can stand who avoid wearing shoes pretty much as often as possible. And I am not one of them. Thus the sandals.
Please don't worry, there was no danger of me being arrested for indecent exposure, though. Because I was wearing shorts all of those other times throughout the summer.
I was going to talk about the epiphany.You see, I witnessed what could really only be a serious temptation to send out a tweet to the twitterverse that relayed the "Michael hasn't been wearing pants for months" message.
A message that kind of had its interest obviated a moment later when the incredulous grin inspired me to to explain that I have been wearing shorts all summer.
Now dinner was just the two of us, but imagine a third person was there. Say a female friend who was flirting with the attractive male server and who therefore missed the whole "pants can't touch him" issue.
And let us further suppose that the laugh and "HUH?" response from my first friend was enough to distract the other friend from her server seduction. My first friend would volunteer the "Michael apparently stopped wearing pants a few months ago!" information and a whole little subconversation would start.
Is that so different than what would have happened with the tweet and the subsequent tweets it would inspire?
So there you go -- Twitter is the alternative to being right there. For some, who will send tweets to people who are also there, it is even the semi-private subvocalized bit of conversation as well.
People often think of Twitter as supporting "microblogging". Now if you blog like Scoble does that may be true, but for most people it isn't.:-)
Now if you think about the way people might (usually, opefully) think before they blog -- not me, of course, but some people -- they may be less likely to think before they say something due to how much less permanent conversation feels.
And thus we get to why I don't tend to use Twitter, or to send text messages.
Because though I can name aloud a small list of people who believe I never think before I blog, they are dead wrong. I do, especially after one that was blogged the same way one might tweet and regretted it not long after.
And although it seems less permanent than blogs, in its own way tweeting is not -- someone determined to find examples of your mistakes will have an easier time if they just follow you on Twitter. It is like having someone carry a microrecorder around to keep your conversations on file (though with Twitter the ones being recorded are volunteering the content).
None of that is in my nature.
Now with all of that said, I actually do use Twitter.
However, I only use it as a way to forcibly lower the size of my blog titles (a problem I had no other way to control previously -- I am just too wordy!).
But by using Twitter to send my blog titles, which become Facebook status messages, the fact that I send out a blog title this way keeps the size of the title down since Twitter limits one to 140 characters per tweet.
I follow no one on Twitter, and no one follows me, which might seem irresponsible since it would provide an easy mechanism by which people could know that a blog went live.
But remembering the traditional Twitter is about literal conversation, I hardly think that "Michael just blogged a blog on his Blog" is important enough to say out loud in the middle of a conversation. Thus it would be inappropriate for me to use Twitter for such a thing -- I'm simply not that important. :-)
Perhaps if I were, I might have been wearing pants today....
This blog brought to you by t (U+0074, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER T)
John Cowan on 22 Sep 2008 11:39 AM:
In keeping with the theme of this Blog, I'll point out that people outside North America would simply understand that (for whatever reason) you'd been going commando for a while.
I always say that no one really understands N.A. English unless they can decode the full implications of "Johnny went to the bathroom in his pants." A Scotsman told me (by email) that he looked at this sentence for about ten minutes before he concluded that it meant that Johnny did the lavy in his breeks; I confirmed this understanding, and added that the sentence also implies that Johnny's a wee fella rather than just pissed.
Favorite line of poetry involving "pants", from Coleridge's "Kubla Khan":
"As if the earth in vast thick pants were breathing"
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