David Armano’s post How to be a self-righteous jerk in social media rather oddly started me thinking about the capricious poet John Donne. You see, I think Donne had a lot in common with today’s Twitterati.
He spent much of this career writing poems where you could not tell whether he was writing about direct experience or just projecting a desired experience. I would argue that a plethora of social media “experts” tweets and re-tweets act in exactly the same way as Donne’s poems. The relation between the writing and experience being unstable. Their tweets are produced so frequently and about such a particular series of topics (usually social media and digital innovation) that they seem to pre-empt the possibility of these very noisey “experts” having truly applied deep thought or true consideration. In fact, I don’t think most social media officiandos tweets are extentions of their thoughts, but instead badges, symbols and masks, to demonstrate how they want to be perceived.
At the end of the sixteenth century, Montaigne and others were becoming obsessed with the sceptical questions:Who am I? What do I know? Are these not in fact the very questions that most social media gurus are asking the world (or trying to prove to it) with almost every tweet they post? When, for example, one of the Twitterati chooses to tell the world (or his rather more niche Twitter world) that he is: “Reading about start-up opps in the wake of Facebook’s IPO“; is he not really just saying:
“I am so singularly focussed on the area in which I work that it is absolutely who I am. So please don’t expel me from that world”.
Or maybe I’m being too sceptical, and every Twitter heavyweights tweets are simply natural extentions of his or her uncensored thoughts at that moment in time…What do you think?