This past week Newt Gingrich announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America…on Twitter. FYI he couldn’t have tweeted that last sentence because it was over the 140 character Twitter limit (I checked).
Earlier this month, Pittsburg Steelers running back, Rashard Mendenhall caused a stir by posting his thoughts on Osama Bin Laden’s death and the World Trade Center attacks; also on Twitter.
In both cases what was shocking to me was not the content of their entries but the weight people gave to them. In my mind there’s nothing contained in social media of any real significance. It should be light, fun and entertaining. It should not be news. Nothing posted on facebook or Twitter should be a catalyst for someone making a major decision or formulating a valid and lasting opinion. The forum is too limited and any clown with a keyboard and monitor and create content (yes smart alecks just like this blog. Shut it I’m trying to make a point).
Likewise texting and instant messaging are insufficient for communicating anything of substance. All attempts to use these mediums to replace more personal interactions are folly.
Imagine with me, if you will, that this technology had been available in times past. They never could have substituted for good old fashion speaking or writing.
What if Martin Luther King Jr. had tweeted his famous I have a dream speech?
And that would be it because he hit his 140 character limit.
How about if Kennedy had posted his inaugural address on facebook?
Let’s say Lincoln had texted at Gettysburg?
It would be ridiculous and no one could have possibly taken them seriously. Why then do so many give so much credence to the communication wrought by these methods?
People please, I beg you, let’s have some perspective. If you’ve got a smartphone and two thumbs you can put your thoughts out into cyberspace [brain not required]. This is not earth shattering stuff. While there are brilliant and clever applications for social media they are not a conduit for crucial information or an appropriate primary vehicle for social/political reform.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s insane to launch a presidential campaign with the same app Lady Gaga could use to share what she had for breakfast?
I’ll admit I text now and then. I’m on Twitter and facebook but there’s a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to tweet and a time to text; a time to update your status and a time to refrain from updating your status. We are all just getting a little too carried away. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to link to this post on facebook and tweet this junk to my tweeps.
P.S. I had a text version of Bush’s 9/11 address:
OMG Osama! WTF! Not cool. BTW 182.
But I thought better of it. Not because it was in poor taste but because I could imagine him doing it. Just too close to reality.