Twitter Guilt? February 25, 2009

Written by: Liza Patriana
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While at lunch one recent afternoon, I scan my TwitterBerry feed while I wait for my food to arrive. I notice a friend, @justintaines, has tweeted “The Burden of Twitter http://tinyurl.com/ax67dk

I’m automatically hooked because I’ve been feeling somewhat of a burden, guilt, “need some time apart” with my faithful partner in crime of the past 6+ months, Twitter!  I just got to reading the link that Justin shared and it talks about the guilt and burden of having to share information on your various social networks but then feeling like you aren’t contributing enough.  Why is it that some of our friends can share every photo from this weekend while others update their status every 2 months?  This guy talks about feeling like a parasite…a skeezy voyeuristic parasite!

My reasons are a bit different from his.  He feels he isn’t contributing enough, and yes, while I sometimes do feel that I don’t contribute enough in terms of “awesome marketing articles” and the like, I feel (and so do my friends) that I contribute so much of my personal day-today, real-time minutia.  Every time I am out at dinner with family and friends, for example, they also/always ask, “Are you going to tweet that?”  I smile and go on with my thumbwork because it is what it is. Plus, some of them are tweeting at the table too!  Granted, my sister has already made me promise to stop tweeting when we are at the table but I digress…

However, when I was at a party a few weekends ago I overheard some friends in the distance:

Guy 1: Why isn’t Liza putting her blackberry down?

Guy 2: Oh, she, like, tweets everything. There is probably a play-by-play of this party right now if you check her profile…

And it actually hit me a bit. These guys who I’ve only met a few times through my sister were calling me out for tweeting a lot!  That is when I reluctantly placed my BB back into my purse under the table. Friends are starting to think of a name for us Twitter-folks’ addiction!  It’s sad but isn’t this the point?  Reveal myself in this moment in 140 characters or less?  I remember when I first heard about Twitter, or even the Facebook Status feature when they first came out — I thought it was weird and sick!  “Why would people care to share random shit like what they had for lunch? And why would people want to read about it? Who cares!” And here I am documenting my every move.  I mean, once you get a BlackBerry people refer to it as a CrackBerry and now THIS? BB AND TWITTER issues?

I have turned off my Facebook status/Twitter synch feature to stop hearing that I update my status too much.  And now I try to space out my tweets.  But what IS our fascination with sharing so much information?  Is it the camaraderie with the community of friends I have formed on both Twitter and Brightkite (oh lord, people freak out that I check-in and announce my exact locations on this network!  Oh how both of these have ruined people’s relationships but I digress…for now)? Is it us sharing advice, recommendations, photos, last minute concerts and sending out a flare that someone has an extra guest list spot or ticket, etc.? Is it the notion that I am young and I want to document my youth and shenanigans…as proof that I lived? Or because if I don’t tweet on the weekend, doesn’t that mean I am not exciting? So it gets me off my couch to visit a museum or ride my bike through the cemetery? Because I don’t write in my personal blog anymore and this is a way to document my condensed thoughts?  Because I have my blog, NosesInBooks.com and I want to help create awareness and drive traffic?

Yeah, I shouldn’t apologize. So what if I am connected to this network?  It still gets me out and about and living life!  I’m not some weird chick in a basement with no social life. J I enjoy my immediate Twitterati group.  We’re freaking awesome.  Watch our conversation in real-time!  It’s no secret.  Yes, it may be creepy to others seeing my tennis-match banter with certain people, but hey, we all do it on some level or another right?  I go to networking events and people approach me and reference “lizadujour” (omg I know right?)  Are we the new weird cult?  Oh well, this is my own Twitter burden…for all to see.