Peek with Mini-Blogging Voyeurism

April 11th, 2007 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

twittervision screen captureCyber play for attention-deficit adults suddenly is the fad of the decade. twitter, twittervision and tumblr are the mind numbing time sinks of these naught years.

These and their demented siblings bill themselves, honest to Berners-Lee, as communication for those too lazy to blog or read blogs, and those bad with words. They are, in fact, quick and easy; they also take the effort and intellect out of writing and reading.

MSM, including the Financial Times, have begun covering Twitter-type snippets . We may see it next in the Boston Herald.

Irksome Policy: The FT link like almost all of its requires an online subscription. Even the daily paper customers need one.

You can judge the efficacy and value of these services and sites directly. Head over to twittervision or try the popular sites listed at the bottom of the tumblr home. To either excursion, you’re likely to think, “This is great!” or “This is stupid!”

If you pardon the highfalutin term for a very low-brow technology, these systems share a philosophy. That is that phrases or one and two-line stream of consciousness comments are worth your time and mine. Imagine sitting in a room with some drunks and some folk wired on caffeine. They bark whatever idea comes to mind.

These systems seem to be the spawn of texting. Each has been around for a year or two. They quickly maxed on features, basically because there is intentionally such a small set.

In many ways, the most advanced is twittervision, as in the capture up top. It combines the snippets from members around the globe with Google Maps. Users type in their mini-messages, which the system serves up one at a time for a few seconds.

Then it’s Whack-A-Mole style. Click on the name of a poster (are twitter users twits?) in the pop-up — if you’re quick enough — and a page of the recent drivel appears. Some pop-ups have a visible phrase or sentence. Others just show an image, often an icon of the poster’s face. All have voting like/dislike buttons and a link to a page of recent messages. Again, you have to be in the video-game mode and quick to click.

Apparently people watch their twittervision screens for hours at a time. It brings to mind blip-verts from the old Max Headroom shows. We’re betting that twittervision lacks the lethal side-effect.

Many tumblr users seem to have longer attention spans. They can put in links, pix and even vids, as shown by one entry below on Jim Jones.


Monkey salesman

Jim Jones

He obtained a bachelors degree at Butler University in 1961, and after graduate school from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, Jim sold pet monkeys door-to-door to raise the money to fund his own church that would be named Wings of Deliverance.

Originality is in packaging, not content. Analysis, writing or other value added is so 20th Century and before. As tumblr’s FAQ boasts, “Tumblelogs are like blogs with less fuss. Blogs are great, but they can be a lot of work. And they’re really built to handle longer-form text posts. Tumblelogs, on the other hand, let you easily and quickly post and share anything you find or create. “Similarly, twittervision defines itself simply as “A real-time geographic visualization of posts to Twitter. Samuel Morse, meet Carl Jung.” You join twitter and post to have your location and image appear from your feed. Then “Sit back and enjoy the show!”In old stoner, oh-wow days, this would have amused us college students no end. Maybe it’s good to see that a Boomer legacy can drag down all the new technology and development to raw voyeurism and passive, open-mouthed slacking.Twitter limits computer or phone generated messages to 140 characters. Even with some tens of thousands of users for each of these systems, there’s a good chance any single message burst will go unread, uncommented on and un-judged. As the FT quoted Obvious Corp. twitter inventor Jack Dorsey, “You are basically writing on a wall and if someone chooses to read it they can do.”

Tumblr’s founder David Karp is plain about the simple-minded nature of this apparently addictive system. “Blogs are great if you want to hammer out commentary, but what if you’re not particularly comfortable as a writer. There are a lot of people who just want to share stff and we wanted to make a simple, shallow funnel for them.”

The dichotomy is sharp. Users have to be self-absorbed enough to suppose that someone will enjoy, be amused by or think about their passing idea. Yet, they have to be Buddhist enough to most of these outbursts are like passing wind in the desert — having little effect and likely not noticed at all.

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