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oh getting high with dad, ehhh D:
August 6, 2009 11:51 AM   Subscribe

When you don't have anything to tweet about, the automatic tweet generator will help you out.
posted by boo_radley (96 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, so that's what took it down
posted by 7segment at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The first one I saw was: "yes i am sarah palin. FML"

FML, indeed.
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh great. It's a device to make twitter into what the people who don't actually use twitter think twitter is.

Frak you right back.

Metafilter: Get off of my onion belt!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:55 AM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I can't think of anything to say here, so Russian Typhoon class submarines are the largest, measuring 558 ft. (170 m) long.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Foursquare took it down. I'm a fan of Twitter, but every time I see a Tweet that says "At Sonicburger" I want to go to Sociburger, find the person who tweeted that, and smash their iPhone. It's not conversation, it adds no value to the Web, and it fills up Twitter with exactly the sort of empty chatter that people mock Twitter for for no sake other than to get a freaking badge or mayorship of some crappy downtown bar.

Thanks. Thanks for that. I'm glad to hear you're at McGimpleys, and that you have now taken over as the McGimpley's mayor from Donald Sweerson Dundernickle. That's EXACTLY what the Web was invented to communicate to all 400 of your followers.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Give me a ping, Vasily. One ping only, please.
posted by zarq at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


We should make one for random MeFi comments.

if it's not been done, and it probably has
posted by jquinby at 11:57 AM on August 6, 2009


OMG OMG OMG what's wrong with nintendo LOL O_o
posted by lampoil at 12:00 PM on August 6, 2009


I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck... maybe even a "recreational vehicle." And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
posted by LakesideOrion at 12:00 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


@britneyspears: i am black people. ugh
posted by naju at 12:02 PM on August 6, 2009


If I wanted this I'd just follow all the various bots that follow me instead of blocking them.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


LakesideOrion: I suppose.
posted by zarq at 12:03 PM on August 6, 2009


Buckaroo.
posted by jquinby at 12:03 PM on August 6, 2009


At MetaFilter
posted by Plutor at 12:03 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: i can't believe white people in my pants!!
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2009


Artw: "If I wanted this I'd just follow all the various bots that follow me instead of blocking them."

guess what? i am furries on drugs.
posted by boo_radley at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2009


This isn't very clever.
posted by lunit at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2009


so getting high with twitter. FML
posted by scrutiny at 12:05 PM on August 6, 2009


Did I block you? Serves you right for failing the Turing test.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


hello, twilight and stephen colbert in bed.

Seriously, if this stuff is par for the course in twitter I'm really glad I'm not on it.
posted by scrutiny at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2009


Does it make me cranky/a luddite/pompous/[insert your comment here] that I'm avoiding Twitter like the plague? Am I missing anything? I'm really asking. Is Twitter awesome and I'm just too old (or something) to "get" it?
posted by jennaratrix at 12:07 PM on August 6, 2009


You may be too young to get it. From what I have heard, Twitter is prefered by a middle-aged audience.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's filling the minimalist void that pagers left
posted by scrutiny at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2009


Did I block you? Serves you right for failing the Turing test.

Fucking stupid turtle upside down in the desert lol
posted by qvantamon at 12:10 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's SO over: cool cyberkids abandon social networking sites
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on August 6, 2009


Having nothing to say has yet to stop me from tweeting.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:14 PM on August 6, 2009


"God is twitter on drugs."

Awesome.
posted by ColdChef at 12:17 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm 39; solidly middle-aged. Happy working with computers, a dorky gamer, and I have a Facebook page (though the novelty is starting to wear off of that). I'm just not getting Twitter, and I wonder if I'm missing something or if it's just stupid. I'm leading toward "it's just stupid" but it could be me.
posted by jennaratrix at 12:17 PM on August 6, 2009


"uh twilight and my ipod, see you later :P"
posted by ColdChef at 12:18 PM on August 6, 2009


I found a MeFi generator once, but every time I hit the button, all that came out was "Meh."

Except for one time when it gave me a William Carlos Williams poem.
posted by Spatch at 12:18 PM on August 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


yes nintendo's new cats. that's what she said?
posted by Perplexity at 12:19 PM on August 6, 2009


weapons-grade pandemonium: "I can't think of anything to say here, so Russian Typhoon class submarines are the largest, measuring 558 ft. (170 m) long."

Also, Bolivia exports tin. TMYK.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:20 PM on August 6, 2009


@oprah: this is google ....sorry D:

Wow, it works.
posted by starman at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2009


so barack obama is white people in my pants!
posted by rusty at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2009


jennaratrix: "Is Twitter awesome and I'm just too old (or something) to "get" it?"

Are your friends on Twitter? If not, you are probably not missing much. It's a 'social' web app, at least IMO — there are people who seem to use it as an advertising / PR vehicle, but I don't think that's really very useful. Other people seem to use it as a sort-form blog, which I also don't really understand because it seems like too limited a medium to conduct much substantive discussion. But I guess it works for them.

It's a neat service if you have friends who use it, and you subscribe to their feeds and they to yours, so you can sort of keep in touch with what they're up to in a non-intrusive, opt-in way.

I always think of it as essentially the "status line" from an IM program, but without the rest of the IM program or the intrusiveness of instant messaging. If you've ever found yourself running an IM client and spending more time glancing at people's status lines to see what they're up to or if they're available than actually sending IMs, you might find Twitter useful.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


omg nom nom nom johnny depp on a boat ;)
posted by mek at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2009


Metafilter: Can't get through the day without some outrage.
posted by fixedgear at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm continually surprised at how many crankypants populate MeFi, though you'd think I'd learn by now. I enjoy the Twitter, and I love the absurd randomness of the tweet generator, and you all are snooty technogrumps.
posted by incessant at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


poop is coming out
posted by empath at 12:27 PM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


i'm sorry about karate in my pants!!
posted by spilon at 12:29 PM on August 6, 2009


"Snooty Technogrump" would be a great sockpuppet name.
posted by ColdChef at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


We should make one for random MeFi comments.

if it's not been done, and it probably has


It has. In fact, there was one that would make a random comment based on the individual member's posting history. But I'll be damned if I can find it.
posted by ColdChef at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2009


Favrd is sort of a Twitter best of list.
posted by euphorb at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2009


Ahh, MarkovFilter, a cortex® joint. I don't know where it went, but it was a thing of beauty.
posted by Mister_A at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2009


I prefer Auto-Meme for all my automated Twittering needs.
posted by ardgedee at 12:44 PM on August 6, 2009


ChurchHatesTucker: Oh great. It's a device to make twitter into what the people who don't actually use twitter think twitter is.

I'm pretty sure that 99.999% of people who actually use Twitter are already doing that.
posted by mkultra at 12:44 PM on August 6, 2009


It was great during the election, where some users would essentially repeat the same points in a loop to the point where it drove out all other subjects from the sampled text and so the markov could kick out a pretty good imitation of one of their posts.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on August 6, 2009


Foursquare and the live watch-along of K Street are the two things on Twitter that keep making me pray for the next version of Tweetie, which allegedly has "filter by hash tag" blocking.

(The guy on my list who constantly auto-tweets "I just helped someone from $LOCATION with a question about $TOPIC on $SITE!" has no hashtags, though, and he might just have to go.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:48 PM on August 6, 2009


"Yes, sorry about 9/11. Oops :)"
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2009


yes wtf the internet bro.
posted by Xoebe at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2009


And yet again, the tired old anti-Twitter arguments. I swear this is the last time I am going to post this. Read it.

via

"Living in a big city, you get to hear other people's conversations all the time. These are private conversations meant for the benefit of the participants but it's no big deal if they're overheard on the subway. And you know what people talk about most of the time? In no particular order:

1. What they had or are going to have for breakfast/lunch/dinner.
2. Last night's TV or sports.
3. How things are going at work.
4. The weather.
5. Personal gossip.
6. Celebrity gossip.

Of course you'd like to think that most of your daily conversation is weighty and witty but instead everyone chats about pedestrian nonsense with their pals. In fact, that ephemeral chit-chat is the stuff that holds human social groups together.

Ever since the web hit the mainstream sometime in the 90s, people have asked of each new conversational publishing technology -- newsgroups, message boards, online journals, weblogs, social networking sites, and now Twitter -- the same question: "but why would anyone want to hear about what some random person is eating for breakfast?" The answer applies equally well for both offline conversation and online "social media": almost no one...except for their family and friends.

So when you run across a Twitter message like "we had chicken sandwitches & pepsi for breakfast" from someone who has around 30 followers, what's really so odd about it? It's just someone telling a few friends on Twitter what she might normally tell them on the phone, via email, in person, or in a telegram. If you aren't one of the 30 followers, you never see the message...and if you do, you're like the guy standing next to a conversing couple on the subway platform.

P.S. And anyway, the whole breakfast question is a huge straw man periodically pushed across the tracks in front of speeding internet technology. There is much that happens on Twitter or on blogs or on Facebook that has nothing to do with small groups of people communicating about seemingly nothing. Can we just retire this stupid line of questioning once and for all?"

posted by lazaruslong at 1:14 PM on August 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


Can we just retire this stupid line of questioning once and for all?

Absolutely not
posted by found missing at 1:23 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


well, I guess we have our Twitter-hater thread for the week.
posted by desjardins at 1:26 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm eating a ham sandwich RIGHT NOW.
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


The complaints about banal twitter chatter are mystifying to me. Don't follow people who are banal.

That's all.
posted by desjardins at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2009


Now I have soup!
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2009


...Don't follow people who are banal.

Seriously. Other than some close friends (and my employer), the only people I followed were a few of the guys riding in the Tour de France, Lance among them. When the race was over, I stopped caring so much about his day-to-day vacation activities in the Caribbean.
posted by jquinby at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2009


lazaruslong, channeling Kottke: Ever since the web hit the mainstream sometime in the 90s, people have asked of each new conversational publishing technology -- newsgroups, message boards, online journals, weblogs, social networking sites, and now Twitter -- the same question: "but why would anyone want to hear about what some random person is eating for breakfast?" The answer applies equally well for both offline conversation and online "social media": almost no one...except for their family and friends.

The difference is that Twitter is (a) rich-media-free, (b) very short, and (c) focused on ubiquitous data capture (mainly via mobile devices). The other examples cited are simply large text boxes into which you can type anything, from the mundane to the profound, from the pithy to the overwrought. Twitter, on the other hand, is inherently reductive- it invites small morsels of information from which it's extremely hard to extract anything meaningful. Its very nature is suited to the declaration of the mundane. There are, to be sure, people (and businesses) who are using the medium effectively, but for most people its an excuse to project their unedited verbal belches.
posted by mkultra at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2009


If you work in some form of IT, but you don't "get" Twitter, that's the equivalent of the crystal in your hand flashing during Logan's Run. Only instead of Carousel, you have to start taking management classes.

On the whole, I would prefer Carousel.
posted by adipocere at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Third tweet generated:

"man my prayers are with twitter. retweet this"

Awesome.
posted by longsleeves at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2009


Halfway through soup - it's mushroom soup!
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on August 6, 2009


Twitter, on the other hand, is inherently reductive- it invites small morsels of information from which it's extremely hard to extract anything meaningful.

Unless you are family or friends, which was the point. Yes, you may not find meaning in someone saying they are at a bar. Unless you are their friend and near the area. It's a question of scale.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:43 PM on August 6, 2009


That's funny. The haters on this thread are offended Twitter otaku.
posted by zardoz at 1:45 PM on August 6, 2009


As a jab against twitter, I think it's kind of lame. As something to make me laugh, its gold. Absolutely gold.
posted by SneakyArab at 1:47 PM on August 6, 2009


Finished soup, but have leftover bread! What to do?
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on August 6, 2009


Hey! I forgot I had a soda! Where did I put that thing?
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on August 6, 2009


Cat still asleep.
posted by longsleeves at 1:59 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


@longsleeves Oooh! Do you have cat photos?
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on August 6, 2009


euphorb: "Favrd is sort of a Twitter best of list."

From the link:
"I was really disappointed to find out that the person arrested for stalking Miley Cyrus was not Death."

posted by vapidave at 2:13 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


yo don't be hatin on my ipod, wtf D:
posted by piratebowling at 2:24 PM on August 6, 2009


Can somebody write an automated tweet reader, so I don't have to read these?
posted by bone machine at 2:24 PM on August 6, 2009


You know what I had for breakfast this morning?

A big fat heaping bowl of ENOUGH WITH THIS STUPID FUCKING CLICHE DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF I MEAN SERIOUSLY????

True story.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:41 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


LOLERZ @ drjimmy11
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:47 PM on August 6, 2009


Favorites so far:
"i love google. fuck bitches."
"OMG OMG OMG wassup the internet to the max."
posted by signalnine at 2:56 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this one of those things I'd have to be a twit to understand?
posted by dejah420 at 3:51 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only auto-generated tweet I got that amused me was this one: "OMG watching myself now. gay"

It amused me because it seems to sum up my opinion of twitter almost as well as "OMG eatin a sammich". Yes I know it is about sharing, but for every person who actually uses the service the way Kottke says, there are a thousand bastards who tweet every goddamn excruciating detail about their lives because they are Oh So Important that Everyone Wants To Know, and follow every A through D list celebrity they can find because they think it says something interesting about themselves, when really it says something negative. Twitter is banal and dumb mostly because humans in general are banal and dumb, and the last thing we need is another excuse to show each other how banal and dumb we all are. (How you gonna respond to THAT, Kottke?)
posted by caution live frogs at 3:57 PM on August 6, 2009


Drunk Birds Tweet Here
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:08 PM on August 6, 2009


dejah420: "Is this one of those things I'd have to be a twit to understand?"

Ah, Mr. Cameron, you've learned your manners. Well done.
posted by boo_radley at 4:09 PM on August 6, 2009


okay getting high with @algore, wtf.
posted by sveskemus at 4:34 PM on August 6, 2009


mkultra: On the contrary, the 140-character limit, when used properly, can force a clarity of expression lacking in services that use big text boxes. If you can't sell the click-though in 120 characters, then it's probably not worth my time. And I have to admit, even with the high quantity of content on metafilter, most days I'll rarely do more than scan the title in my RSS aggregator.

There are people I prefer to follow on twitter rather than on their blogs, becuase their blogs show up in my aggregator as rambling multi-screen affairs, while their twitter feed is direct, to the point, and generally gives me a good idea of the type of article that's behind the link.

And as desjardins points out, it is so stupidly easy to separate the wheat from the chaff on twitter, even with the basic interface.

mkultra: There are, to be sure, people (and businesses) who are using the medium effectively, but for most people its an excuse to project their unedited verbal belches.

Which, as you very well know, was exactly the same criticism leveled at weblogs when services offered personal weblogs that didn't require an understanding of server-side software development. And yet, here you are, posting your unedited verbal belch on a medium infamous for informality and banality.

caution live frogs: It amused me because it seems to sum up my opinion of twitter almost as well as "OMG eatin a sammich". Yes I know it is about sharing, but for every person who actually uses the service the way Kottke says, there are a thousand bastards who tweet every goddamn excruciating detail about their lives because they are Oh So Important that Everyone Wants To Know, and follow every A through D list celebrity they can find because they think it says something interesting about themselves, when really it says something negative. Twitter is banal and dumb mostly because humans in general are banal and dumb, and the last thing we need is another excuse to show each other how banal and dumb we all are. (How you gonna respond to THAT, Kottke?)

I'm not Kottke, but I'll point out that you've said nothing about Twitter that hasn't been truthfully said about every other mass-participation epistolary form of communication since Rem first bitched about his breakfast on the inside face of a limestone block that was used to build a king's tomb. Clay tablets initially hailed as the first example of musical notation turned out to be a recipt for livestock. And once upon a time, budding cryptographers cut their teeth on love notes printed in newspapers in simple Ceasar cyphers.

What makes the Internet work is an infrastructure that supports the mass distribution of the banal and dumb, combined with the technical means to seek out what best matches your interests.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:37 PM on August 6, 2009


And of course, it needs to be pointed out that one of the whole points of twitter is that media-rich, long-form web-based publication degrades badly for the fastest-growing computing platform at this time.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:45 PM on August 6, 2009


KirkJobSluder: And yet, here you are, posting your unedited verbal belch on a medium infamous for informality and banality.

First of all, way to crap on MetaFilter; some of us like to think of it as uncommonly literate. Secondly, the "unedited verbal belch" version of my comment would have been "No pix? OMG Twitter is teh suck!".
posted by mkultra at 5:13 PM on August 6, 2009


And Web 2.0 disappears up its own ass.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:22 PM on August 6, 2009


RT: okay check out porn... wake up people.
posted by jquinby at 5:31 PM on August 6, 2009


mkultra: There are pictures. It's not hard. My BlackBerry has supoprt for it automatically. Also, video. And audio.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:54 PM on August 6, 2009


lazaruslong: mkultra: There are pictures. It's not hard.

Twitter does not have pictures. People like to link to Twitpic, which is an image hosting service designed for use with Twitter. It's not the same thing- Twitter, by design, is a text-only medium. There's a difference.
posted by mkultra at 6:18 PM on August 6, 2009


OMG OMG OMG this is bad. porn bro!
posted by davejay at 6:40 PM on August 6, 2009


mkultra: First of all, way to crap on MetaFilter; some of us like to think of it as uncommonly literate.

I'm not certain how you think "high quality of content" translates into "crap on metafilter." Certainly, metafliter can be uncommonly literate, uncommonly, and certainly not in this thread.

Metafilter is an example (*) of a larger medium. A medium that can quite justifiably be characterized as narcissistic and sloppy, favoring the brief and quick ideas over the developed ones, banal and lacking meaning. If statements about lunch are the heart and soul of twitter, pictures of the household cat are the heart and soul of the weblog.

Weblog regulars flaming the entirety of twitter for being too personal and banal are hypocrites. I'm certain it's probably inspired by a ton of good intentions and a startling ignorance that we've been through this discussion with minute variations before.

(*) A rich-media-free one, by design partly because we didn't want to imitate more banal weblogs with a few dozen lolcat macros in every thread.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:55 PM on August 6, 2009


@thepalephantom: The "no one cares what you're doing" proclamation is a solipsists way of saying "i don't care.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:51 AM on August 7, 2009


So when you run across a Twitter message like "we had chicken sandwitches & pepsi for breakfast" from someone who has around 30 followers, what's really so odd about it? It's just someone telling a few friends on Twitter what she might normally tell them on the phone, via email, in person, or in a telegram.

You telegram people to tell them what you have for breakfast?
posted by outlier at 2:20 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


KirkJobSluder: I'm not certain how you think "high quality of content" translates into "crap on metafilter."

I'm using "crap" as a verb.

KirkJobSluder: If statements about lunch are the heart and soul of twitter, pictures of the household cat are the heart and soul of the weblog. Weblog regulars flaming the entirety of twitter for being too personal and banal are hypocrites.

Are you seriously implying that the membership-at-large here overlaps significantly with people whose blogs consist largely of pictures of their cats?

KirkJobSluder: because we didn't want to imitate more banal weblogs with a few dozen lolcat macros in every thread.

FFS, the only "we" in that decision was Matt and pb (and possibly Jessamyn, not sure if she was an admin at that point). Please don't act like you have any kind of ownership over that point.
posted by mkultra at 8:13 AM on August 7, 2009


I simply find it amusing that people who don't care for Twitter insist on telling everyone within typing distance how much they don't care for it. I admit that if I was an anti-Twitt-er, I'd get sick of hearing about it (I almost kicked my radio the third time NPR mentioned the Twitter "hack" yesterday).

But I'm just as sick of people who don't use it trying to convince me I'm wrong by using arguments about sandwiches and toilets. When someone points out a dozen or so valid, useful uses for Twitter they say something like "but for every person who actually uses the service the way Kottke says, there are a thousand bastards who tweet every goddamn excruciating detail about their lives" and I'm supposed to rethink the error of my ways. Damn me for using the same website/tool/communication medium as some idiots. Are you going to stop making cellphone calls because for every person who actually uses the service for emergencies and business calls, there are a thousand bastards who call their friends and talk about every goddamn excruciating detail about their lives?

Don't use Twitter. I'm okay with that. I'm pretty sure we all are. For god's sake, please stop telling us why you don't use it, though.
posted by Plutor at 9:08 AM on August 7, 2009


mkultra: I'm using "crap" as a verb.

Yes, and so did I.

mkultra: Are you seriously implying that the membership-at-large here overlaps significantly with people whose blogs consist largely of pictures of their cats?

I have no idea if it does or not. And I doubt that you do either. I'll gladly cop to the fact that most of my personal weblog would be banal and trivial outside the small circle of family and friends I consider my audience, and to be blunt, I don't care if it is seen as such. Blogging is not a professional practice for me, and I have no incentive or desire to seek a larger audience.

My criticism is not specifically of metafilter, although I've become frustrated in its quality lately, and you certainly do not credit to its literacy when you ignore both thesis and paragraph breaks. My criticism, as clearly stated in in the preceding passage, is of the weblog as a medium. Or in other words, your advocacy of "large text boxes" as a remedy for the banal and bad, when the widespread adoption of "large text boxes" has resulted in an explosion of the banal and bad.

Advocates of online community and communication have been here before. At each step along the way, new media has had to justify its existence from those who pointed to banal, informal, and sloppy examples as evidence that the entire enterprise is a waste of time. Where weblogs succeed, it's because the combined qualities of mass participation combined with technological filters and controls allow for uncommonly literate communities like metafilter to develop. Those same qualities exist with twitter. It has very little to do with the size of the text box.

mkultra: FFS, the only "we" in that decision was Matt and pb (and possibly Jessamyn, not sure if she was an admin at that point). Please don't act like you have any kind of ownership over that point.

It's my memory that Matt was responding to considerable community comment that metafilter shouldn't look like or read like Fark.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:20 PM on August 7, 2009


And on second thought, my criticism isn't really of weblogs. It's of the notion that the value of a technological medium can be measured by the profundity of the content it carries. Greeting cards are about as banal as it gets, but they serve a valuable social function that shouldn't be trivially dismissed.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:45 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And on second thought, my criticism isn't really of weblogs. It's of the notion that the value of a technological medium can be measured by the profundity of the content it carries.


This a million times over. Banal ephemeral chit chat can be the glue that holds a social group together.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:12 PM on August 8, 2009


outlier: "You telegram people to tell them what you have for breakfast?"

Well, no; setting aside that nobody is sending telegrams to anyone about anything anymore, people didn't send telegrams about what they had for lunch because sending a telegram was really expensive.

(I tried a little searching, just out of curiosity, to see what the cost of a typical 140-character tweet would have been via Western Union at various times, but the pricing wasn't nearly as easy to find as I'd hoped. Regardless, judging only by the measures people routinely took to compress messages, the costs must have been phenomenal if you translated them into modern dollars.)

Had telegrams been effectively free, like SMS messages are for most people who use them heavily (on an SMS plan), or truly free, like Twitter, it wouldn't have surprised me if people had used them to report what they'd eaten for breakfast.

I think there's a sort of hierarchy of communications that we go through every time a new medium opens up. When the medium is new and very expensive, it's typically used only for very high-value government or military communication. Eventually, it might get commercialized, and be used for business messaging. As it trickles down further to personal users, the first things you see are 'emergency' messages—"Mom's sick, come home now"—with increasingly chatty messages as the price decreases.

I saw this myself, as did most of us, with cellular phones: when they were first introduced, they were the province of business executives; later, when they were only 25¢ or 50¢ a minute, you might use them for something extremely urgent, but save the bulk of your call for later. Now, airtime is so cheap I'm finding myself using my cellphone far more than I ever used a landline (because of the free long distance). I'll be the first to admit that a lot of my cellphone calls, particularly the ones since I got an unlimited-minutes plan, are not far removed from "what I had for breakfast."

Twitter is what you get when you make communication essentially free. The S/N ratio drops, for some people's definition of "signal," but you get closer and closer to doing via telecommunications what people do when they're standing in the same room: a lot of small talk and arguably banal chatter.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:42 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


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