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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trying to survive in a Twitter world

The topic of Twitter and how awful it is, may not seem to relate to economics and finance, which is what A&G covers, but ultimately it does.  And since I'm not trapped into communicating my thoughts & ideas on this topic in 140 characters, I won't make the attempt.

I'll come out and say it:  I hate Twitter.  I mean Hate it.  I tried it.. Experimented with it.. Hate it.  For people like me who enjoy writing and more importantly communicating with others in a relaxed setting where you take pleasure in expressing ideas & listening or reading ideas be expressed back, Twitter is Horrid.

Twitter is perfect for people like my cousin who for privacy sake I will call "Sharon".  She is an extremely busy person- not simply busy because of the normal bustle of a day, but the type that makes herself intentionally and willfully as busy as possible so almost every free second of the day is occupied with some activity. The kind of "busy" that has a psychologically peculiar way of making you feel guilty or bad about yourself that you're being an inconvenience & interrupting their pretend productivity.

Perhaps "Sharon" is trying to block out some inner-demons she's afraid to face or just possesses that Paris Hilton-like shallowness and insincerity that only Paris herself can get away with but few others in the real world can.   But nonetheless, constantly busy- so busy she never has time to call anyone back, unless of course its to her advantage for career advancement, etc-- Yep, one of those phony user people, um I mean Networkers.

So for people like "Sharon", rather than bother to spend one minute to return a phonecall (1,440 minutes in 1 day) or give a ring to a friend or family member in a week's time (10,080 minutes in 1 week), its much easier to Tweet nonsense in Twitter-world like 'Went to gym'  or  'Busy.. Busy..' and because most everyone else in Twitterville is just as devoid of proper social skills, that's perfectly acceptable communications.

I'm sure you know at least one "Sharon" in your daily life.

So let's turn the conversation away from a specific person and make this a broader focus:  The world is changing dramatically- in all aspects of our life, and not for the better.  And while I believe for many, especially the young, Twitter is a great outlet for deeply lazy and anti-social people to put just enough of themselves 'out there' without having to extend any real effort at human interaction,  I also understand for many, Twitter is a communication tool of necessity.

If you're lucky enough to have a job currently, you are working longer and harder than you did three years ago.  And it will not improve any time soon, if ever.  If you didn't know it before, companies have succeeded in demonstrating how replaceable you are.  Not working fast enough or to the company's needs, well there's always someone younger or faster or stronger who will do your job and for less $ because they will be grateful.  Or just get some temps- they're cheap, spiritless and can fire them for any reason or no reason. Or just pack up all your jobs and send them to the far corners of the globe.

So people work and work... Then they have families- spouses who work as strenuous as their partner..  and in many cases, kids to take care of.  If you're lucky to make enough $$, you can bypass most parental and domestic responsibilities by hiring nannies, cooks, tutors and such.  And if your combined wages barely keep the home together, you both have to find the time.  And to single parents: God Bless You because your tasks are Herculean and yet you get the job done every day.

So after a long hard day of work, eating, taking care of the kids and so forth, who has much time to make for calling someone back on the phone or taking a couple minutes to touch base?  So for those people, there's Twitter.  The irony though is people are quite resilient creatures- we always seem to make the the time to do what we want.

Truth is, many people simply do not want to keep in contact with one another outside of networking or need.  So Twitter serves a nice function- take 2 sec to type "Hey, how's things?" during a TV commercial or traffic lull, then obligation is done.  Other person can tweet back in 5 min or 5 days.. what does it matter to you?  You'll respond with something like "I hear ya" in a week's time, and everyone's happy as pie.

The US (and global) economy is getting worse, not better.  And if it does improve its temporary because no government has fixed anything or severely punished those responsible for 2008. Who caused it.. who can pretend to 'fix' it.. left.. right..  yawnnn.   This is the point:  When things get worse and worse, on an individual level and as communities, you need to be able to rely on each other for assistance and working together to problem-solve.

A dramatic shift is coming for most-  you will have to be more dependent on interacting with your family, friends and neighbors to get through the oncoming economic 'winter'.  You will need to pull your emotional and financial resources together- surviving alone will be a challenge.

People are so completely devoid of social skills and how to human interact on a face to face level- its appalling.  How often have you seen someone in a crowded room, bus or such and not speak to anyone or even give a smile (as if that little nothing of a gesture is too great effort to display) yet when the cellphone rings or receives a text/tweet from someone thousands of miles away, they person perks up and sparkles in joy.

Perhaps that doesn't bother you in all likelihood because you're just as guilty of it.  Personally, its abhorrent and unhealthily anti-social, and will come to bite many people on the posterior in the future when people find themselves in need for a Real social network of people literally in their community.  When you are without electricity, or the food stores or banks are experiencing runs or you're snowed in and trapped-- try seeing how much that online friend from the other side of the US or wherever helps you.

Personally I have two lists of people- those I would do Anything for, and those I wouldn't give an M&M to if they were starving.   Just being honest.  Those who stay in contact with me and show genuine friendship, love and/or caring about, I will be there in times of trouble and those people can count on me to be there physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.  Those who have played petty power games, who possess evil inside them like cancer, those who could never be bothered to stay in touch beyond a meaningless 'tweet'..  Those I don't care about and when the winter does come, let them eat snow.

~ "Gee, that silly ant is working hard..Hee Hee.. Think I will tweet him next week"

There's millions of you out there I've never met and never will meet- just how life is.  But I do care about you.  There isn't much we can do to fight a government or a system, and life is just to precious to risk it being cut down by others in power.  But we all can take steps to prepare like squirrels prepare for winter by storing acorns.  And one thing we all are in complete control of is our social circles.  Unlike the famous phrase of 'I keep my friends close and my enemies closer', the motto needs to be 'I will be there for my friends, family and community; my enemies I keep at a distance'

Remember the Grasshopper doesn't just die because he's lazy.  Its because there's only one of him.  It is Ants- plural..  they work together and survive.  Which will you be?

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