I thought long and hard before opening a Twitter account, then finally took the plunge. Now I have two of them. It is incredibly easy to get into the trap of followers and fans when you join the popular social networks. I think that that entirely takes away the joy of sharing and connecting. In the beginning, I was indifferent to the number game, and then I got hooked. Thankfully, it didn't last long, and now I am back to my usual carefree (uncaring of the numbers) self, free to share and express what I think fit.
Ours has become a culture of expression, over expression really, and excessively so. "I am tired, I walked so much ALL DAY!," "That b*#%#^% took away my brother's kids," "All sloshed…," "It is raining," "My cat peed," and so on. I wonder if these folks tweet every thought that passes through. That would be an impossible task but they do a good job, nonetheless. On and on, these devoted Twitterers keep at it, day in and day out. This is supposed to be a space of conversation but if all that we are doing is exchanging "It is raining" with "I am drunk," I wonder what kind of a conversation is happening. More importantly, do I want to be part of it?
Let me clarify, there is a lot of good stuff happening on Twitter. Interesting links, engaging ideas, warm and fuzzy conversations, brilliant connections – they are all there. A lot of it is also noise, plain noise. People broadcasting their random thoughts to no one in particular. Or to anyone who's listening.
A lot of times, I am tempted to tell people to shut up. Be quiet, please. Bah, who am I to do that? It is a free space. That, I think, is part of the problem. Don't get me wrong; I am all for free speech. But I think 'free speech' has been understood wrongly by many people. We tend to equate freedom with a 'I-will-do/say-damn-well-what-I-wish' attitude and not 'How do I use this freedom usefully?'
Take Pinterest. An infinite wall with infinite pictures hanging on it. You browse a webpage, like an image, tack a pin. Like another image, tack another pin. Thus the wall grows larger, the number of pictures keep expanding. It is an inspiration board, they say. If you have 3500+ pictures tacked on your wall, which ones do you look at? How does your browser window even accommodate these pictures? Of course, you got to keep scrolling down.
Reading, talking, tweeting, posting, pinning…. Phew. It is a whole lot of excess, don't you think?
Over the years, I have started to express less of what I think. Thousands of thoughts rush through this mind daily, some useful and meaningful, the others are pure drivel. Actually, that isn't true entirely. Meditation and yoga have transformed this mind. There are fewer thoughts and they are more directed, stronger in intention and powerful. And that's what gives birth to a post of this kind, or some other good writing. That's the kind that deserves expression and a presence for posterity on the walls of the Internet. Not "OMG. Is that sunshine?" or "The house smells like whiskey."