Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tweet Tweet

I find Twitter kind of overwhelming. I am wondering if that’s how I felt when I started using Facebook. I know I didn’t really like FB, often don’t like FB, but use it anyhow. Sometimes the benefits seem to outweigh. Twitter has some advantages that might outweigh, or I think it needs to be put in more complicated terms. If possible, a conversation. But Twitter is not about conversation. It is about bites of text all appearing simultaneously. There is so much information on my Twitter feed. I have links to AFT and other union feeds, some other news sources, a bunch of public radio programs like Tell Me More and others, a couple of links related to academia and contingent labor, and some other stuff including individual people who I know. There must be some links to celebrities, because I am so curious... what can they be tweeting all of the time and who has the time to read what they have to say? Or not say, but tweet. There are short things that people post full of abbreviations and hash tags, most of which I cannot make sense of. There are links to articles, some or many of which are interesting, useful, and relevant to my varied interests. But there are new posts constantly. And so if I read Twitter for more than ten minutes at time, and read the articles and additional linked information, that seems like it could take up my whole day. It is like FB but more dense and packed more full in some way, there is less space for pictures (posts have a short visible part and then you have to click to see more, see the links and images and the whatnot, but of course you know this because  who isn’t on Twitter now?). I use FB to see what people I know are doing (or actually, to see what they are posting) but also to read and share articles about higher education, education issues in general, contingent labor issues, food and local events and the miscellaneous etcetera. It is helpful because a number of other people I am FB Friends with post articles that are thoughtful and relevant. And being in southeast Michigan, there are a lot of articles and info on the state of Detroit…there are statistics and opinions and interviews and studies and local and national reports on every aspect of the city that is at once stuck in some kinds of tradition and history, and also changing so fast it has become impossible to keep up. I suppose lots of people are posting articles on Twitter too but I have only just started Twittering and the topic of Detroit in general is a little quieter right now than it was just a few months ago. 

And then, I think, my life is a Twitter feed. I get up and spend one to three hours working on projects like writing or submissions or job applications. I scroll through FB or Twitter and read and repost articles. I think about the huge number of possible essay topics that I want to write about and then I think, where could I possible publish those. And I research and make lists of publications for various kinds of writing. And then I read articles about academia and the impossibility of either getting a tenure-line job or the extreme challenges of being treated like a professional as a contingent laborer and I think about more essays in more kinds of publications. And then I have to get ready and go teach. I cram lesson planning and writing and assignments, clarifying the schedule and keeping students on track so they don’t feel as unfocused and lost from one moment to the next as I feel. And then I finish teaching and have to decide what to do next. Usually I have ten ideas or things that need to be done (planning or follow up from teaching to prepare for next time, dog walking, dishes, dinner, yoga, union meetings, shoveling the snow as is the case in this most wintery of winters) and then I only get to one or none of the things that need to be done after the teaching ends before the day is ending and I am good for little else than sitting on the couch or in the bed. Click scroll click scroll. Is this what we have come to? 

I want to interview students, ask them about their Twitter activities, give me some examples of their tweets and what other feeds they follow, and what people write on those. They tell me Twitter is the new Facebook. Everyone’s on Twitter. To many it is necessary (good) and discouraging (bad). What happens on Twitter if you are 20? Do you read the articles that are linked in the tweets? What kinds of articles, information, news, relevance to critical and thoughtful living show up on your Twitter feed? Do your friends write posts about their changing feelings from moment to moment? Do they post thoughtful and relevant links and information? Do you?

What’s on Twitter today?

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