The 140 Character Collective Consciousness

We live in a digital age. I’ve come to accept that and honestly, anyone who hasn’t is in trouble. So the fact that I’m saying this, as a member of the technology generation may seem somewhat ironic to some, but it’s a legitimate concern. We live in the era of Facebook and Twitter, which I obviously have no problem with. As anyone reading this blog can plainly see, I have a twitter and a Facebook so I’m not one to judge.

But the issue of voice arises when we’re talking about the internet and about Facebook and Twitter. These words are nameless and faceless if you choose them to be. We’re always warned about whatever we put on the internet can never be taken back. In some way or another, it always exists. It’s a precaution, warning us all to think before we speak. It seems a reasonable enough request, what with admissions boards and employers looking at people’s pages (for all potential employers, it’s okay, I gave up gainful employment when I used the word shit yesterday so you can move it along). I understand being careful about what you put on the internet, but there’s something that still gets to me through all this.

I guess simply put it’s the way that technology infiltrates our lives. Now I know that I sound like some 80-year-old prattling on about the days before the internet, but seriously, look at what the internet has doen to us. Sure, there’s the whole argument that our increasing reliance on technology further isolates us from one another. Let me be clear, I don’t entirely disagree with that idea, but it overlooks some crucial facts so let’s put that one aside.

Look at things like Twitter, which is for all intents and purposes a glorified facebook status. Twitter gives you 140 characters to say what’s on your mind. It can be anything you want, what you did that day, how you’re feeling, what you’re currently doing, etc. You get the idea (hell, most of us use it, myself included) The question is, twitter’s 140 character policy and Facebook’s own word count on Facebook statuses, are those limitations imposed on us? Are we being silenced? Or perhaps more frightening, is that all we have to say?

Can our thoughts, feelings, and our daily lives really be reduced to 140 characters? Sure, most people tweet (still think it sounds funny as a verb) multiple times a day, but the limit remains at 140 characters per tweet. Can we really boil our lives down that much? Obviously I have a problem with it (considering I’m nearing 450 words already) but there’s something so devastating about thinking that we have that little to talk about or to say.

I understand the hypocrisy that Twitter simultaneously freaks me out while I still use it but I think it’s the other creative outlets that maintain my (arguable) sanity. Needless to say, it’s not really the technology itself that freaks me out, but it’s how we crave it. It’s just the fear that technology hasn’t limited or taken away or speech, but that we really have nothing to say. Sorry, once again, another simple point made long. But if it makes you feel better, it could’ve been worse. For this simple point made even longer, you could’ve just watched the movie Pulse which believe me, would’ve been much worse.


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