What if you could hear all of your friends conversing at the same time? And I mean regardless of whether they were in the same room with you.
Every thought. Every synaptic firing. Every vocalization. Pouring into your brain constantly.
The razor blades are under the sink. Try to be a good fellow and keep all of the blood in the tub, would you?
Welcome to Twitter.
I started on Twitter less than a year ago and I have noticed one thing about the people I hang out with: they fall into one of two camps. The constant pingers and the lurkers.
I, my apologies to everyone, am a constant pinger. I am one of those people who continues to post things throughout the day, and I never stay on one subject very long. I’ll hit themes and run with those for a while, or I’ll go through a period where all I do is respond to other people’s posts with “witty” ripostes. I’m not nearly the retweeter that most pingers are, but that’s mainly because I constantly feel the need to add to conversations rather than simply echo them.
In my actual social life, I have been referred to as “The Honest Ed” of comedy. Honest Ed, as the name would imply, was a local retail showman who had a large store at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst Streets in Toronto that fundamentally sold cheap crap to the masses under bright neon signs. Thus, the moniker given to me. Most of my humour is crap, but every once in a while, you’ll find something you like.
My brother Scott, in contrast, would be classified as a Lurker, if he had a Twitter account.
These are the people who patrol the social waters, largely unseen and shark-like, not interacting until they find just the right moment and then BAM!
At a family gathering, Scott would sit in the room, only slightly more animated than the wallpaper, while I rat-a-tat-tatted in all directions like a wind-up monkey with cymbals. He would wait for his moment and lay out a line, a joke, a comment that was smarter than anything I had said cumulatively. The room would collapse and he would dissolve back into the furniture, never to be seen again.
On Twitter, the lurker is the person whose icon only shows up rarely in your timeline. The person who catches your eye—when they catch your eye—only because you thought they were dead (or at least their account was dead). But catch you they do, and pay attention you must, because they have finally decided there is something worth saying and it should be good.
The pingers, I may only read about 1-10% of what they say at any given moment, making judgements on importance within the first two or three words (so much for 140 characters).
I have my favourites, those I will read more thoroughly, and those favourites change with my changing moods or their changing conversations.
So what is my point in this post?
I don’t have one. I’m a pinger. It’s never been necessary.
I merely observed something and felt I needed to comment on it…for more than 140 characters.
PS If you want to “hear” the Internet evolve, there is a really amazing site that monitors changes to Wikipedia and represents those changes visually and musically. Not surprisingly, it is called Listen to Wikipedia.
From their site: Listen to the sound of Wikipedia’s recent changes feed. Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note. Green circles show edits from unregistered contributors, and purple circles mark edits performed by automated bots. You may see announcements for new users as they join the site, punctuated by a string swell. You can welcome him or her by clicking the blue banner and adding a note on their talk page.
(Image is property of owner and is used here without permission because I couldn’t get a word in edge-wise)