Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rules for Life-Logging

Twitter: The social network of choice by millions of people. Its simplicity and conciseness draws the attention of its users. No surplus of embedded ads, game requests, or links to articles from odd sources. (cough cough Facebook). Just a streamline feed of chronologically ordered Tweets from those you are following, all 140 characters or less.

I have been a member of Twitter since June 2011. I was a late adopter, because at the time, I didn't find the need for another social network. However, the tides turned and here I am, an avid Twitter user, or some may say addict. Am I drawn to Twitter because of the simplicity or because I am allowed participate in what is called "life-logging?" Well, I think both, but let's examine the latter reason: "life-logging."

"Life-logging" is literally what it sounds like: people documenting their lives on various social networks. According to an article by Michele Jackson, "life-logging" has really taken root thanks to Twitter. Twitter makes it easy to let everyone know what is going on. Just a click of a button on a cell phone can update your life's mini-blog. However, there are some pretty simple ways to get on all of your followers bad sides when you use Twitter to life log. Here are some rules that I think about before I post on Twitter.

  1. Don't be a follower. Be a leader. One of my biggest pet peeves on Twitter is getting on my timeline and only seeing tweets about the same thing. For example, my high school was obsessed with sky pics for some reason. Whenever the sky looked somewhat unique, I would see about a hundred tweets all with a similar picture. You know what that means right? Unfollows galore. If you aren't going to post something that furthers the discussion of what is going on in your life, then don't post.
  2. Think before you post. Before you click "tweet," think about who would want to see what your tweet says. I'm just as guilty as the next person to occasionally sending out tweets that I doubt anyone actually cares about. But, we all know someone who will tweet pointless updates like "watching TV (heart emoji)" or "I love Starbucks #basicwhitegirl." That is a prime example of life logging at its finest. Those updates don't provide me with any insight or make me laugh, so I most likely will just scroll on past it.  
  3. Humor is your best friend. Everyone has a unique sense of humor, but I try to make my tweets match my sense of humor (which most of the time involves sarcasm). Funny tweets are the ones that gain the most attention, mainly because Twitter is a medium to release your inner thoughts about what's going on in your life. However, just because you think you are funny (myself included) doesn't mean you should be posting every couple minutes. Just don't be one of those people.
Now that I have provided my insight on how to use Twitter effectively, let's turn this post to a more serious discussion. Is "life-logging" changing the way we interact with everyone? In this age, obtaining information is as easy as a click of a button. You can know what exactly is going on with all your friends, acquaintances, and family members(Yes, my mom follows me on Twitter...). All this information makes you become invested in hundreds of other people's lives. And that may be a problem.

Twitter users who feel like they have to post every waking second of their lives on Twitter aren't developing a skill in which our generation lacks: face-to-face communication. Every conflict now is handled with a subtweet, instead of an argument. This just strengthens the point that our society is shying away from confrontation. While people who post constantly may feel like they are being heard, but most likely the people on other screens are just filtering it out. In today's world, unless your "life-logging" is unique, it is just seen as noise. "Life-logging" is just adding to the polarization of society, a topic many of us discussed on this blog last month. Constant updates to an empty room are making us become more isolated. We all want to be heard, but are failing to listen.  Society as a whole cares more about what is happening on their phone than what is happening with the people they are sitting next to. Now, I'm not saying abandon Twitter. I love it just as the next person. But, it is important to keep in mind that the people who care most about the little things in your life aren't behind a screen. 

Referenced Sources: Jackson, Michele H. "The Mash-Up: A New Archetype for Communication."Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 14.3 (2009): 730-34. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

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