Net Worth: Networking zombies need dose of unconnected living

Last year I wrote about purging myself from the rash of social networking sites.

So LinkedIn and MySpace were among many that ended up being casualties. Only Facebook remained in my pantheon of bookmarks.

Since then, I’ve been wary about joining other social networking juggernauts for fear of getting sucked into the time-wasting vortex that they represent.

This attitude was confirmed recently when I attended a screening for the terrific movie “Up.” A college-age dude sitting a few rows ahead of me decided to keep his Twitter followers informed by tweeting during the entire movie. I witnessed the whole thing unfolding because I could see the display from his phone, which beamed nearly as bright as the screen.

After “Up” concluded, I heard him remark how “awesome” the movie was. This meant he wasn’t simply tweeting because he was bored; he was actually telling friends how great the movie was instead of enjoying how great the movie was.

Such is the inherent problem with Twitter: You can’t fully immerse yourself in something if you’re preoccupied with describing the experience while it’s happening. I believe Twitter is the technological “breakthrough” that has most effectively marginalized the human experience since the invention of Astroturf and silicon breast implants.

Based on this concept, I think I’ve found the perfect Web site for those who are skittish about their increasing Web addiction:

The banner explains: “From this Web site you can’t do anything!”

With Stay Unconnected, you can’t e-mail anyone, text anyone, IM anyone, send a Tweet, take a test, load a picture, etc.

Clicking on a button that asks “Have any comments?” only leads to a screen that explains, “If you do, please keep them to yourself.”

I know full well that championing Stay Unconnected in a column called Net Worth may seem capricious. Sure, go ahead and call me a Luddite.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s based on Ned Ludd, a British laborer who led a revolt of textile workers (from 1811 to 1816) that would destroy machinery in the belief that such technology would induce employment layoffs. Now poor Ludd is forever saddled with a name that means “one who opposes technological change.”

So I’m not advocating that modern folks smash someone’s Twitter-maker like I wanted to with that doofus at “Up.” (I could have forcibly removed the device, but I once tried that with someone’s cell phone who was talking loudly during a critics’ screening. It only made matters worse.)

I’m only suggesting that the next time you decide to use Twitter, ask yourself if cataloging your mundane tasks are making things better for your followers, or are they ultimately just making your life even more mundane?

— Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth. He can be reached at 832-7178.


Matt Toplikar 13 years, 5 months ago

Great article!!! I'll have to share it on Facebook... oh wait... never mind.

Seriously though-- Twitter is a fad-- it won't stay around forever. It reminds me of when everyone was obsessed with ringtones. Most people I know who sign up for Twitter use it once or twice and that's about it-- it's just too stupid. The people who are REALLY into it will eventually get bored.

If you haven't seen it yet, The Onion did a pretty good parody of the phenomenon.

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