Sunday, August 09, 2009


Twain once said Cincinnati is 20 years behind the rest of the world.

In some cases, I'd agree. Fashion trends take a cycle or two before funneling their way through the Ohio River Valley. And for all the collective Young Professional efforts, this community is still a bastion of conservative, archaic thought.

Which means it'll likely be a long while before Cincinnatians begin hosting anti-Twitter, anti-text, anti-any device that chronicles the moment parties.

Today the New York Times featured an article in its Styles section describing a bumper crop of soirees prohibiting such popular communication tools. Apparently a group of news media people are meeting up for salon-type parties that ban the very resources they depend on in their professional endeavors.

They say the technology ban is fostering better conversations, and as a self-proclaimed Twitter addict, I can totally appreciate the merit of this perspective. On more than one occasion, I have disengaged from conversation to tweet a thought, comment or quip borne out of a social setting. After typing my 140 character comments, I'd return to the discussion and ask participants to repeat what I failed to absorb.

Undoubtedly rude, and yet typical of an entire group of First Adopters.

I vividly remember a happy hour outing where four of the five participants were silent and tweeting/texting about the surroundings and company. Ironic, considering the word company implies engaging interaction between more than one person - and the only people we were engaging with were the folks on Twitter.

The article goes on to remark that some folks enjoy the anonymity of "shutting off" their social media feeds at any given moment. I have to say, I've recently taken to steering clear of Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, if only because I appreciate the opportunity to unplug, recharge and enjoy a more private experience.

You don't really want to know what I do every weekend, do you? Or maybe you do...

Twitter/Facebook/Blogging/You Name It opens yourself up to voyeurism. From the tagged pictures to the videos to the tweets - it's easy to forget that your feed is going to more than just your besties and closest loved ones. On Facebook, your network or friends' friends can check out your pics, depending on the setting, and on Twitter - anyone can follow your feed as long as you're not locked.

I don't pretend to be important or well known, but even I have experienced the unsolicited "You're Kate the Great!" moment, and it reminds me that any stranger out there is privy to my life's habits, preferences and minute details through a variety of social media experiences.

It further underscores my occasional preference to cut ties with anything featuring buttons.

So if I don't respond to your tweet or Facebook message, don't take offense. I'm likely just screening my social media contact for those folks who actually have my phone number.

You know who you are.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Jeffery said...

I agree that "Twitter/Facebook/Blogging/You Name It opens yourself up to voyeurism," but I would also argue that putting oneself out there in so many different venues allows one a certain degree of exhibitionism. One cannot feed the monster of social media and not expect the monster to occasional want to lick ones hand in return.

5chw4r7z said...

I disagree on fashion, I was all excited to go to Chicago and see what it was all about, the downtowners there didn't dress any better than here.