20 Aug 2007

On Keeping Up

Posted by AC

I am a couple of months behind in reading Wired, and just came across Clive Thomson’s article on Twitter. Anyone who follows me (OK, just Yoz) knows how infrequently I update.  It’s about like this blog.  There are two bits of it that struck a chord with me:

Productivity guru Tim Ferriss calls Twitter “pointless email on steroids.”

I had a very similar reaction to it when I first stumbled across it.  The extent to which this still resonates with me doubtless has something to do with how little I update my twitter stream.

Scrolling through random Twitter messages can’t explain the appeal. You have to do it — and, more important, do it with friends.

I have a number of colleages — some of whom I like quite a bit who twitter.  But when I was layed off from EA, I learned the difference between colleagues and friends, so I count a very small number of friends.  And as far as I know, none of them twitter. As far as I know, none of them are on linkedin.com or facebook.com.  I can forgive them for not being on myspace.com which just feels like crappy templates for people who can’t make their own web pages — oh and a great place for bands to get heard.

I remember as a young adult (or older child?), frustration with my dad who would double-click when only a single click would suffice.  Or, he’d forget to shift- or command-click where appropriate.  That’s when the technology divide based on age really hit home for me.  Now my grandmother was a computer user, so I knew it wasn’t strictly age, but I didn’t get the sense that she was espeically computer savvy, just capable.

I was talking about this with one of my friends 12-or-so years ago and he expressed a nonchalant non-concern.  We were both computer professionals, after all.  But, in a sense, I think it’s already happened.

Young adult me could provide technical detail for every mac on the market including configuration options; and that was even before I became an Apple Student Rep.  Now? I know they come with Intel chips, and OSX Leopard comes out some time this fall.  And it’s not just Macs.  It feels like computers in general.  While I have a lot deeper (and probably also broader) knowledge of computing in general, and am a cog in the wheel that is helping redefine virtual space, I certainly feel like I’ve lost some combination of time and enthusiasm for the bleeding edge.

I’d love to blame this on parenthood.  Certainly as a parent, and full-time worker, I have little time left over for computer play, but it’s more than that, or my affliction would be less than 2 years old 🙂  What’s worse is that I don’t even know what exactly it is.

Suffice it to say, that when I do twitter, it is, in some measure, specifically to fend this off.  To try to continue to understand, if not appreciate, the avant-garde in computing.

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