Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Setting the world a-twitter

Once again, one of those (boring) IMO (In My Opinion) blogs. Not that my opinion really matters, as I have said over and over again, but whenever I can I like to dispense my opinion just because I have it! Something that my city (Pune) taught me. :)
So the inspiration is this. I was actually really happy that Shashi Tharoor was a part of our fresh cabinet. I even started following him on Twitter but like most, I gave up Tweeting after an initial entusiasm of about three weeks.
In one of its own T-shirt quotes Twitter says that it is ' The messaging system we didn't know we needed until we had it'. At the end of my three weeks of tweeting I came to agree with it, and also ended up dwelling on it.
Why does a politician need to update people around the globe about who he is having dinner with? For that matter why does anyone have to update the whole world about what they are doing every single moment of the day?
They say that they do it for political transperancy but the amount of truly unnecessary information that they send out through tweeting does more harm than the amount of good their transperancy does. No one really needs updates from politicians all the time. At least not about how they feel in their daily meetings and what they think about the austerity drive.
I think healthy tweeting would really help resolve a lot of issues regarding politicians being absent from the common people but India is a little cosmos within herself. Although we are all hooked on to the net all the time, we still use tongue-twisters like austerity-drive to describe cost cuts in cabinet travels. When I first read that word in the Times Of India I could not help but laugh. It took me straight to the English translation of the Bhagwad Geeta, where a austerity is a wise man's lifestyle. :)
I don't think the technological evolution has really affected the Indian values to a great extent. We still respect a certain formality of conduct in leaders. So a Kevin Rudd can possibly get away with tweeting about his steak but a Shashi Tharoor still has to pay heavily for it.
I also think it dilutes rhetoric. Not that it is essential but the beauty of a well-designed and drafted speech is far beyond tweeting every hour from every corner of the world. There has to be a certain gap between thinking and expressing. IMO (again!!) it is one of the most important steps of expressing your thoughts in any form, whether written, verbal or even artistic. That time between thinking over something and then saying it is the most crucial time in the process of expression and I think Twitter (or Facebook for some) really robs you of that time. That is why speeches by the likes of Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi are still compiled and sold in the printed form.
I am not technophobic but I am weary of all these information blasters that the world is coming up with!
I love the concept of an e-book although I personally prefer a nice paperback in my purse, but audio-books just depress me to the core. They rob you of the pleasure of reading words and converting them into pictures in your brain right there. If you come to think of it, it is a very complicated process and that is why book lovers would never part with that privilege.
These days every one spends a lot of time and money on getting entertained. Even then there are a lot of people who get bored very easily. The real reason behind this is that we spend lesser time processing information in our own (private and hard-copy) heads and more time assimilating and dispensing it. :)
Just like my opinions I guess. So the (pointless) conclusion of this post is that you are more than likely to ruffle some Indian peacock feathers if you plan to set the world a-twitter. No matter how suave, tech-savvy and bright you are. In India you do what Indians do. :)


Raj said...

yup I agree with you. But what can you expect from the likes of Shashi Tharoor who does not find his Gove residence good enough and stays in afive star? (with his own money, he says, but who knows?)
I am glad I was not following him.
btw whats your login on twitter? mine is rajkashana.

Saee said...

@ Raj
I think Shashi Tharoor is a fantastic guy. But sometimes I think he gets carried away with attention.
I think my twitter ID is saee21 or something of that sort. I would follow you. :)

jheerofantom said...

Hehe, could not agree with you more on the 'austerity' part. A thumbs up (a la facebook ;)) to your phrase of setting the world a-twitter..

I might be wrong but I feel celebs twittering is a publicity stunt and politicians are also jumping on the bandwagon. While it is nice to have politicians accessible over a-twitter, I will lose interest if they start twittering about mundane things and not express their opinions on important issues.

Though I would say that this technology itself has potential to improve beauracratic procedures. Imagine a world where you need a passport and want to know what forms you want to fill in.. Just twitter the passport office.. They can employ a person just to respond to every tweet they get. I think from an administrative view point twitter is an invaluable tool. I agree with most of what you have said though I also feel that twitter is a technology that can add value to the society.

Rajendra Shinde.

Saee said...

@ Rajendra
Yes I agree. But you know, only people described as "Sthitapradnya" in the Geeta can carry out twitter-ministration.
The moment you realize that you are being followed by 50,000 people you stop being what you initially wanted to be and start being a rockstar!!
Thanks for your comments

शिरीष said...

I agree wth your views,especially of reading a book. I also like to read a printed version rather than a ebook.Audio books I can not imagine!
I remembered a similar prose by J.B. Shaw 'Not answering the telephone" which has similar view point

intendo said...

After more than 2 years of following (and thoroughly enjoying) your blog, i think i've finally found a post that i don't agree with :) :)

As a geek, i feel obliged to respond.

- Twitter was never really intended to be used in the way it ended up being used ( i.e by celebrities with thousands of followers talking about breakfast). Twitter was all about conversations within communities of people you either knew, or knew of. If only you'd used twitter last year (before it came into the limelight), you would know what i am talking about.

- The 140 character limit is what makes twitter particularly brilliant. It forces you to use the fewest possible words to express what you want to say. Whether thought is put into tweets depends on the kind of people you are following.

- Twitter is a phenomenal resource for real-time information sharing. Can you imagine any other technology uniting people globally over something like the Iran issue?

- To get the most value out of twitter, you need to follow the right people. And this takes time. But the results would make you glad.

- To get the most fun out of twitter, you need to *build* up a follower base. And this again takes time. And will only happen if you start tweeting regularly and patiently.

Read this article about twitter: http://ihatemornings.com/babble-context-conversation/

Since i am already on a technology crusade (:) ) , let me speak about Audiobooks as well. They are NOT a replacement for books. They are meant for people who love reading, but are unable to do so - for whatever reasons. Think about people with poor vision for example.
Try to think back of the time when you were young and your parents/grandparents would read out books to you. The art of story-telling is centuries old and I think the human voice is as capable of triggering our imagination as is our vision. Try listening to a well-read audiobook and give it a fair shot - without any prejudices.
Reading a book and listening to a book being read, are two completely *different* experiences. I wouldn't say one is better than the other, nor is one a replacement for the other. So why try measure the two against each other?


Saee said...


Yeah after I wrote this post, I began delving more into twitter myself and I think I agree with you.

I really like Barkha Dutt's twitter page too. I think she really uses it to pool information and get out there and know what people really think about something.If someone like her persistently uses twitter in this way it would indeed make a difference.

You can read people very well through their twitter pages though! Almost like there are twitter-personality indicators. :)

I still have to push myself to change my opinion about audio books though.
Thanks for the comments and also about the details so that other readers can know it too!

fromperiphery said...

Agree with your thoughts expressed in the original blog.