Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
You know what term I’m sick of? “Social Media.” My cousin Dave has often picked up on these terms that are the zeitgeist, such as “lifestyle” (you know you need lifestyle luncheon meats) or “combo” (’cause who wants to buy a burger that isn’t part of a combo?). “Social Media” seems to be the buzzword of the day, and I’m already sick of it!
Our local newscast on CJOH TV in Ottawa now has a “social media” segment where the commentator brings us up to date on what’s happening in the “blog-o-sphere” and who’s twittering about what. You can tell I’m getting old because frankly I just don’t give a crap.
So I’m going on the record today so I can be called a hypocrite later, but I think Twitter is the lamest concept on the planet. Save this blog so you can throw it back in my face 6 months from now when I start “tweeting,” but right now that seems pretty unlikely. I have intelligent readers, so I won’t try to hide the fact that the main reason I keep up a blog is to generate traffic to our website. This is what search engines like to see; lots of new content and reasons to direct searches to your site. This is how I sell books. I think as a former home-schooling, off-grid-living, self-employed, opinionated, woods-dwelling and independence-seeking so and so, sometimes I have a unique perspective on the world. People like to come to my workshops and get this perspective so the blog is just another way to keep up the conversation.
But am I interesting enough to “Tweet” about my every stream of consciousness and the minutiae of my daily existence? Not in a million years. So who is? Justin Bieber? Well maybe — after all he’s 16 years old and has an autobiography out already. Barack Obama? Well sure, but his tweets are probably written by someone else because he’s busy trying to manage the dying days of the American Empire. So really, who could possibly be interesting enough that I’d want to follow their tweets?
It seems mostly to just be a great opportunity for people to put their foot in their mouth, and you see a great number of politicians/athletes/people in the public eye resigning or apologizing after posting tweets that they really didn’t think through. Radio announcers are into tweeting and as I listen to Tom Allen on the CBC yammering on about some subject, he often directs me to learn more by following his Twitter. Come on Tom, I’m listening to you on the radio. Surely if it’s interesting enough to tweet about you could just tell me now on the radio. Why do I have to track down your Twitter account to find out this earth-shattering piece of trivia? Really, is it that interesting?
I recently saw an advertising flyer from Marks Work Warehouse that offers new $300 rechargeable lithium polymer battery “heated” boots. Now, without debating the relative merits or necessity of such a product as a natural evolution of human footwear, the ad has this bizarre geometric shape on it. To use this geometric shape, all I have to do is go to a website and download a free app to my smart phone, then once I get that working, scan this image, and it will automatically take me to a website that will show how these heated boots work. It makes me wonder why they just don’t use the 8-by-11, full-page ad to tell me what I need to know and save me an hour. Do they really think their boots are so important to me that I’m going to take my Saturday afternoon to learn about them?
Go to any website today and you’ll see six or eight symbols, some of which I recognize and some which are quite foreign to me. You’ll see, “Follow us on … Facebook … Twitter … Email … RSS Feed … on your iPad ... on your iPhone ... on your Crackberry … Android …”
And if you’re in the game you’d better be available in all these formats. So you’d better train someone to figure out how to get your information formatted just so you’re accessible to everyone in every conceivable format conceivable, and there will probably be even more formats by Friday.
Sorry … got distracted there for a minute. I was just reading a tweet from some backbench politician telling me what he had for lunch. Wow. That was interesting.
So the next time someone says “Cam, you really should start tweeting” I’m going to tell them that I’ll start “tweeting” when they come up with an app that reads my mind and just posts it all by itself into all these formats so I can spend my day weeding my garlic and not be on this infernal machine! In the meantime I bought a great used book from the Salvation Army store this week. I’m off to read and unplug my brain from the matrix.
Photos by Cam Mather