Tweeting makes some sense to me. It’s a way to announce new blog posts, to promote some professional topic of interest, to follow a specific news story as it develops. For me, I do all those things… and occasionally throw in something from the other parts of my life, such as a photo or brief comment on a movie or restaurant I recently experienced.
But the holiday season has given me a new reason to ponder the purpose and value of twitter. Why? I’ve noticed that many of the twitterers I follow have used the opportunity of a few days off or a year-ending vacation to continue their twittering routines. Not everyone, mind you. President Obama has been silent about the good meals he’s had in Hawaii or the medical emergency that recently hit his friend’s child.
But everyone else? Among those I follow, I’ve been reading about European vacations, opinions on the year’s best movies and albums, whether Avatar is worth the hype, favored cocktails, and family Christmas traditions. Right there on my iPhone, I’ve been offered personal glimpses into the lives of people I had previously only viewed through carefully managed professional windows. Two questions pop up: (1) is this a good idea? and (2) should I throw caution to the wind and begin to peel back the onion publically myself?
On the first point, the Boston Business Journal ran a piece several months ago about CEOs blogging and tweeting, concluding with… no conclusion. They noted that there are mixed opinions on the subject and that it was, ultimately, too early to tell what kind of impact it might have. But their stories about CEOs posting their daily weight as part of their weight loss program and discussing whether the latest Star Trek movie is, in fact, the best of the series, made me wonder whether charging full on into a fully transparent world doesn’t have a downside as well.
Personalizing and demystifying those whom we interact with on a professional basis is, inherently, not a bad thing. In general, I think it’s a good thing. But when we blend worlds so much, do we lose a bit of the respite and release we gain from maintaining some measure of seclusion and privacy? We have all learned that balance is important to our health and well-being, but if we’ve blurred the lines so thoroughly between worlds… how will such balance be possible?
Remember George Costanza’s lament, that it’s not good, “when two worlds collide!”
And so despite some occasional lightly personal posts and tweets, I’ll probably keep my own worlds apart for the time being.
Now about my brother-in-law…