Twitter Made Me Old


I was telling a couple of friends (who I don’t get to see enough) the other night that Twitter is the newfangled thing that marks me as an old man.

You know what I mean.  Technology always separates the young from the old.  The day you find a hot new technology totally mystifying — either in the how-to-use-it sense, or in the why-would-anyone-use-it sense — is the day you become old.  You’re now the cranky old man or woman who has to be humored, if tolerated at all, because s/he just. doesn’t. get it.  The cranky old person that people who aren’t old persons chuckle at.

For previous generations, the technology was the automobile.  Radio.  The airplane.  Television.  Computers.  Cell phones.  The series of tubes (hello, Sen. Stevens) known as the internet.  “The Youtubes” (hello, Sen. Baucus).

For me, it’s the Twitter.  Just. don’t. get it.

Why would anyone want to do it?  Why would anyone want to read it?  Mysteries to me.  Why would I want to stop what I’m doing every 5 minutes to write about what I’m doing — on a device as ill-suited to writing as any device ever devised — instead of, you know, just doing what I’m doing?

I realize these questions make me a cranky old man, and seal me off from the very substance of young peoples’ world.  My world is now fundamentally different from theirs.  I see myself go old before my eyes.  I know this road fetches up in a place where I yell at kids to get off my lawn, swear at traffic for being in such a hurry, wear an onion on my belt, afflict young relatives with tirades against their hairstyles or stories about how things used to be and how the world has gone all to hell and all problems would be solved if we just went back to the Way Things Were.

It all starts now.  With Twitter.  (And American Idol.  What’s up with that?)

Except for this.



13 Responses to “Twitter Made Me Old”

  1. Terry A. Says:


    I suspect your old feeling is really just an outgrowth of the fact that you are, in fact, old. Happy birthday, deflatedly. (That word I keep using. I do not think it means what I think it means.)

    But I don’t Twitter, either. I do see some uses for it (could be a great source for breaking news), but they don’t involve me reporting on my every activity (“cell rang while i was on the pot”) nor reading my associates’ pointless updates (“called terry while he was on the pot”). That’s what Facebook is fer, after all.

  2. urbino Says:

    I suspect your old feeling is really just an outgrowth of the fact that you are, in fact, old.

    Have you, perchance, been feeling like an asswipe, lately? Besides, I didn’t say I feel old. I don’t feel old (as will be demonstrated by the number of times I use the word “dude” in this comment). I’m just marked as old, now. I’m culturally old.

    And since you brought it up, what’s up with people talking on the phone while they’re on the pot? Every time I hear some dude in the next stall answer his cell phone, I think, “Dude, didn’t your momma teach you anything?” I mean, honestly. Who wants to be on either end of that conversation? It squicks me out.

    Breaking news, yes. (But not bathroom related.) The Iran thing, for example. Brilliant use of Twitter. Or organizing a party or a meet-up somewhere. Sure, alright. But just to chatter incessantly? Dude.

  3. Terry A. Says:

    Tee hee! Pottymouthed old guy over here, y’all!

    “Squicks.” Words like that will keep you young.

    This is better suited for Twitter, but… my cell phone always rings during the morning constitutional. Always. It’s quite the conundrum. I hate to be impolite, after all, but you can’t affix your trousers while holding a phone to your ear. Which is why I’m gettin’ a bluetooth doodad. Dude.

  4. urbino Says:

    What’s impolite about being unavailable while taking a natural? I say it’s impolite to answer the phone (or place a call) at such times.

    You might not have a bluetooth doodad if you didn’t keep getting it caught in your zipper while trying to fasten your trousers and talk on the phone.

  5. jazzbumpa Says:

    I think I’m too old to participate in this conversation.

    For instance, why have anything to do with squicks, when there are perfectly good squid available?

    OTOH, my 12-yr-old grandson has his hair at a length that is both impractical and ridiculous in the modern world. I rather like it.

    Also, I’m on facebook.

    Life is soooooo complex.

  6. Sandi Says:

    Hmmm. I think Twitter is dumb, also. But I’m 33, and haven’t been keeping up with new music for well on five years now, so I already knew I was culturally old. I do blog and Facebook, though. To me, Twitter is not nearly as interesting or useful as those things, but I may think that because I am far too verbose to willingly be limited to 160 characters or whatever it is. It took me forever to start text messaging, and then I only did it because it was a more discreet way to waste time at work than yakking on a cell phone.

    I don’t place or take calls while using the restroom, but if I’m already on the phone and in the middle of a conversation I will take it in there with me and cover up the mouthpiece when I’m not talking. FWIW.

  7. Terry A. Says:

    What about texting?

  8. urbino Says:

    Texting I take no position on. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

  9. dejon05 Says:

    I tweet. I’ve come to appreciate Twitter… especially when comparing it to weblog medium. Even though I employ google reader to keep track of the 56 blogs I would like to follow daily (but don’t because… well… I have a semblance of a life), Twitter provides a lot more control over what info sources push content to me, and what sources sit idly by until I want to check the content.

    Twitter’s format also provides a unique format for finding new content sources. When contrasted with Facebook, It is more difficult to track down a twitter account by the persons name. However, it is easier to latch on to less familiar sources of good content via the retweet.

    I have about 5 people whose content i appreciate enough to have it sent via SMS to my phone. These are close personal friends who might send the occasional tweet about the mundane, but mostly send worthwhile links, and notes about something that I almost always find interesting… in some way or another.

    The other 84 people I follow fit in to three categories.
    1) I follow them b/c they follow me, and their content is not so bad as to force me to stop following them.
    — e.g., some of my law school classmates. Sure a lot of them are acquaintances only, but we have unique shared experiences. And I like to see how other people react to being in the crucible.

    2) I follow them b/c a friend recommended I do, and I’ve either been persuaded that following them is worth it for any number of reasons, or I’m still holding out hope that following the recommended twitterer will provide some minor benefit in the future.
    — I have a few friend-of-friends I follow. Some have me raising an eyebrow, and I may drop them soon.

    3) I found them on my own and have a reason for being interested in their content.
    — As a big Cubs fan, I follow about 18 other Cubs fans. Lately this has become more group therapy than info sharing. I also have found a few “law-related” tweeters who pass on legal-related tweets some, but just provide interesting content. I love following my favorite singer, Ray Lamontagne. I love following my favorite philanthropist, Scott Neeson. I love following David Corn, chief of the Washington bureau for Mother Jones, etc., etc…

    Throw in the myriad of Twitter platforms (I prefer tweetdeck), and it becomes pretty easy to manage a hefty load of incoming information.

    Twitter has really taught me about the importance of content. I know what interests me, and there are people out there that provide some great informational resources that enrich my interest… not to mention a crosscheck of perspectives also.

    Twitter takes very little from my time. But because of it, I feel better informed about current events, pop culture, the latest humorous meme (guilty pleasure… sue me), or what have you.

    I didn’t try it out until February or this past year, but since then, I’ve come to appreciate this new social networking resource.

    I’m no twitter apologist. And I’m 32… so no spring-chicken (see beer-belly). But that’s my two cents.

  10. urbino Says:

    Yeah, that’s more or less what my Twittering friends told me. I guess if I had more friends or interests or ambition or were involved in a group activity like going to law school, I might use it. And maybe there’s hope for me, yet. Maybe I’ll be a late-adopter.

    OTOH, I stopped even using Facebook months and months ago.

  11. dejon05 Says:


  12. urbino Says:

    Get off my lawn, hooligan.

  13. prasadhms Says:

    Wearing an onion on my belt! lol!!! Good one indeed!

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