A few weeks back I decided to dip back into the world of Twitter, largely by being prompted to look at the Tweetdeck tool. Tweetdeck is indeed fine and is a boon in managing the flood of tweets. It is also has a rather funky black presentation a refreshing change from the sometime lurid colours favoured elsewhere.


Disturbingly I was quickly sucked back into this world of so-called information; signed up to follow a few more people; started short term groups to monitor events and so on. It didn’t take me long to climb on my hobby horse of indignation – more than half the tweets are still people massaging their own egos: “Just boarding a flight to Obscurity –city”, “ Oh I have so much work to do, what will become of me?”, “ Having lunch with the Aga Khan”, blahdiblah. Rightly the Bristolian Buddha of things technological pointed out that I just have to stop following that sort of idiot Tweeter … ah an elegant solution. But rather grumpily (me, grumpy? Surely not!) I can’t help reflecting on how people who are oh so busy still get time to issue three, four or more Tweets on an hourly basis – seems their view on the pressure of work is not the same as mine.


There are however several Tweeters who do put this strange beast to good use pointing to new reports, podcasts and generally bringing your attention to things worth considering. I must also admit to enjoying the occasional dip into Luvvie Corner where the likes of Stephen Fry et al throw gobbets of celebrity lifestyle to the mere mortals.


But the real issue coming out of this and related tools and applications, is my inability to manage this ever-increasing noise. I have almost abandoned any hope of managing email – the constant flow into the inbox makes me feel like King Canute (or is that Knut now?) in front of the rising sea. Leaving Tweetdeck open triggers a pavlovian response to check each of the insistent birdie noises that herald the arrival of more vital communication. I seem to have fallen back on IM messages to generate in me the sort of rapid response that email used to do – the gentle insistence of a flashing tab indicating that a real person is actually talking directly to me.


Having argued for months with friends (yes I have a few) and neighbours of the importance and exciting nature of these new technological tools, it is with some regret and disappointment that I am starting to feel nostalgic for the days when the Telex machine was the height of sophistication and distractions from the real work at hand were just the more human and personal ones. Sigh.


1 thought on “Overload

  1. Joe Hutcheon

    But isn’t that the problem of the Web writ small; too much unfiltered information, often of interest to a vanishingly small group of people? To quote from a blog on Nature’s website:

    ‘Blogging is a great example of one of the very best things about the web: that our every utterance can be indexed for anyone to find, distributed to every corner of the world, and archived for eternity – all at virtually zero cost. The problem is, to many people these are also the very worst things about the web.’

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