.. it is not. But there are odd thoughts about twitter and facebook.
Amit Varma speaks of Twitter* and Internet Hindus and the alleged Enemy #2** on twitter, and how we shouldn't take people seriously. His point is rather simple, and I quite agree with it. The people who argue passionately on twitter will often not take such extreme positions in the real world. We often argue for the sake of argument, without any objectivity, and sometimes without a clue. We have little to add - voice has indeed entirely become noise.
I recently spotted it again with the Kasab sentencing. Like the incredibly hot SpyMaami said, 90% were talking like right-wing nuts and 70% like Arundhati Roy***. That death sentence led me to have a little flashback to the day it all fell like dominoes on twitter. It was 26/11. That day, we were sitting and chit-chatting like we always do. We discussed failwail, jazz and punkrockers (with flowers in their hair). And then the attacks happened. Twitter came handy, people managed to organize help and resources. It was quite brilliant, the way it all worked, the way it really put power and control in the hands of the common person. Everyone became very involved and suddenly, very serious. For a few days, anyone who would dare to say "Oatmeal for brekkie" was reprimanded. "Be serious, this is no time for frivolity", they said, "a country is in crisis". #Mumbai was trending for days. The aftermath was that the publicity in MSM brought many more curious people to twitter. Soon the mood had almost entirely changed - it became about issues, about making a point, shouting a message out. Some people thought that twitter would give them an opportunity to see their name in print. The lack of care was gone, and twitter, for me, came of age.
Now the place is all herd, all mob, especially when it comes to re-tweets and trending topics. It looks odd when people start talking about topics other than the ones which are already under discussion. People celebrate the arrival of a celebrity on twitter. People re-tweet the celebrity till the comment has lost its context. Often a discussion on a serious issue loses its merit because the objectivity is long lost, and people are relentlessly hashtagging.
Not that all is lost, not just yet. I've met and still meet wonderful people there, who have become some of my close(st) friends. There is still a lot of wit and wisdom -- in fact, way too much of it. I still have a lot of fun, but when there is noise, I tend to run away. Still, somehow, I don't turn and run, I don't quit.
Elsewhere, I find this piece about why one can't quit facebook. The list-maker says:
Sure, Facebook has privacy issues, but you don't care about privacy anymore. Remember when you wouldn't use your real name on the Internet?
I absolutely hate it when they equate lack-of-anonymity with lack-of-privacy. People don't mind using their real names on the Internet only because there are gazillion people out there, and to some people there seems to be little point in hiding a under a name.
Privacy is different. It's more about who you really want to share whatever you want to share with. That's why I have the Internet, so it can make sharing easier, so to me, it's quite strange when people say, "Don't put it on the Internet then!" Don't get it? Picture this - I have a, errm, picture I want to share with my friends. Instead of spamming their inboxes, I want to put it somewhere, so they can see it. I don't want to share the picture with my colleagues. Both these sets of people know my real name. In fact, I don't want these people to ever know my moniker, lest they google me out. See the difference?
*Quite a few sentences are more than 140 chars. Such a noob (sic). :) See, some of us can now naturally write sentence shorter than 140. I'm quite sure the first bit about twitter above is all under 140.
**Who's the enemy #1 that everyone likes to trip on, is anybody's guess.
*** According to me, 35% belong to the third kind - the people on twitter who claim that people on twitter don't know anything.