Loser's Guide to Life
Ages ago my friend and I were always talking about putting out a magazine, because we had really good ideas that needed to be out there. The world was pretty much just asking to be set straight on a number of issues, and we were going to do that. My friend busied herself creating a really good logo and a list of features, while I wrote some stories and came up with a few unfunny cartoons. I was thinking of calling the cartoon section “Unfunny Small Pictures”, being inspired the those of The New Yorker. But nothing came of it. Our magazine joined the billions of rock bands and groundbreaking novels that people produce every year in their heads.
Years later, I ran into my friend and told her about this new thing called “weblogs”, whereby anybody could design, edit and publish his own little magazine, as it were.
She said, “But what is it, exactly?”
“Whatever you put in it. Like stories and stuff. Or your opinions. And you can add new stuff every day, or whenever.”
“But—why would you do that? It seems kind of weird to me.”
I didn't say anything more, because I felt she hadn't used the internet enough to be familiar and comfortable with it. She understood it as a consumer but saw only limited value in manipulating it and trying to put it to her own use.
I thought there was some similar ethos at work in complaints about Wikipedia. “It's inaccurate and full of mistakes!” “Just any jerk can edit it, what a terrible idea.” But of course anyone can fix it, too, and at any time. Millions of people can comb it for mistakes and you don't have to wait around for the corrected edition.
The thing with both of these developments is they may be no use at all to a given person at a given time, but there is no limit to the uses countless people will find.
I think it's the same with Twitter. Right now it still seems to be in the experimental stages as people find different uses for it. I don't use it myself, but there are plenty of people who obviously need something like that to keep them out of the way.
Labels: Electronic Things