Some time back, Garrison Keillor described cell phone conversations as being essentially the same as what geese honk to one another in flight: “I am here. I am on my way there.” But in comparison with Twitter, a routine cell phone exchange constitutes a Shakespearean soliloquy.
I don’t use Twitter myself. It’s not just that I am a fossil; I lead an appallingly dull life. If you were to receive moment-by-moment bulletins of my daily activities at home and at work, you would want to curse God and die.
But I am on the receiving end of Twitter, because Facebook has added a feature that imports Twitter’s tweets and trills and honks into the posts from my so-called friends. It turns out that they are sunk nearly as deeply into banality as I am.
When I see, sequentially, that you have collected your boarding pass, your flight has been delayed, you are now in line for boarding, you are sitting on the tarmac, you are returning to the terminal, you are eating a Sbarro pizza, you are back in line for boarding, you are stuck in a middle seat, you are cleared at last for takeoff — I don’t care if you are Michael Anthony bringing me a tax-free check for one million dollars from John Beresford Tipton, I don’t want to hear any more.
For the contrary view, Jeff Jarvis — who else? — carried on a year ago about Twitter as one of the Great New Things of Journalism. I’ve been remiss in not following his more recent illuminations. No doubt I am entirely in the wrong, as well as hopelessly in the past, as seeing Twitter as a marriage of noise and short attention spans. But if I can figure out how to disable the damn feed on Facebook, I will be able to reduce one or two degrees of crankiness.