A MinD in MoTown

Fighting the addiction.

Like most other days, I turned off the alarm and grabbed my cell phone. A few clicks later and I was on mobile Twitter, seeing what the world was up to before I threw off the covers and rolled – literally – out of bed. And, like those other days, I decided to save my first tweet for the office, which I’d stumble into an hour and a half later after walking the dog, a 15-minute date with my hair dryer, some makeup and the routine struggle to decide what to wear.

But this day – today – was different.

Twitter was down. It was 9:30 a.m. and I was convinced my work computer simply decided to hate me until I attempted the mobile version, which also refused to load.

“No big deal,” I said to myself as I meandered over to Facebook, only to discover error message after error message invading my computer screen. It wasn’t just Twitter escaping my grasp; it was Facebook, too.

After several repeated attempts to successfully browse each site this morning, I realized my attachment to these social networking devices – an attachment most of us bloggers tend to have. Sure, I somewhat acknowledged this beforehand, especially during moments where my boyfriend would harass me for tweeting through dinner, but it wasn’t something I took any more seriously than a joke. However, with this morning’s duo of downed sites, I can accept my position as an addict.

Whether it be Twitter of Facebook, these sites are the first I check in the morning from the comfort of my bed and the last I view before slumbering each evening. To count how many times I wander their direction would be nearly impossible, but I’d venture it’s at least several dozen times a day*. I tweet while driving, while working, while watching TV, while shopping, while eating, so on and so forth**, and I’m regularly checking Facebook just to discover what my “friends” are up to each minute of the day. Clearly these sites have become more than entertainment; they’ve moved into a pervasive element of my daily life.

And what’s worst of all? I know I’m not alone here. Since social networking became “all the rave,” so many of us have jumped onto this bandwagon, refusing to let go. We tweet, we update our statuses, we retweet and we play dumb games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars***, all while blogging our lives away when free moments arise. I almost can’t help but wonder what “real life” things we’re missing out on by engaging in these Internet activities.

Yet each element has become such a common piece of our generation’s existence that most of us – few of us, I’d imagine – stop to think about it until one site goes down and we wander the Web lost, trying to find something else to fill the void. That’s what I did this morning, after all. With Twitter and Facebook incapable of working properly, I read a bit more news than usual, made a few phone calls I otherwise might have waited to complete and skimmed through my Google Reader, all because two pages I frequent were beyond my fingertips.

Is being a social networking/computer addict a natural part of being a 20-something in 2009? Or are some of us taking our Internet lives farther than need be? At what point, if any, does succumbing to this world – the blogosphere, the Twittersphere and countless other sites – invade reality and keep us from completely enjoying a life without the clicking of keyboard keys and mouse buttons? For us addicts, is there truly a time when we’ll have to say “when”?

* An assumption of 25 each per day seems accurate, yet only approximate.
** I may or may not tweet from the bathroom, too.
*** I am only guilty of the first of those two, thank you very much.

Tweet tweet tweet.
March 30, 2009, 5:43 pm
Filed under: T to the witter, Yet another girl in the blogosphere

Although I’d likely be one of the very first people to admit my love of Twitter, my frustrations with the service have exponentially grown lately to where I feel I must express them via the blog.

Clearly the popularity of this social networking/microblogging site has increased immensely within the last month or so, which is great for the Web site itself. It’s getting amazing press and with the buttload of celebrities joining its ranks, more and more of us normal folks are signing in as well. Unfortunately for us users who have been utilizing the site for several months and are quite accustomed to its effortless usability, the amplified popularity has created a plethora of troubles – or at least it has on my end – that seriously make me consider foregoing my membership.

twitterAt this point, I’ve stopped counting the number of times I have encountered the “Twitter is over capacity” image, and this is something I seemingly come across on a daily basis. And each time, I leave behind my “tweet” and exit the Web site not only annoyed and agitated, but wishing I didn’t enjoy “tweeting” – who came up with these ridiculously youthful-sounding verbs anyway? – as much as I do. After all, updating my Facebook status a bazillion times because I’ve had a few too many beers at a Jeff Dunham show could be considered excessive by my friends. Instead I choose to regale all of those in the Twittersphere* with those 140-character informative postings.

And in those moments I actually gain access to the site, it rarely appears correctly without me having to refresh the page. It seems that all of the ease Twitter once held has disappeared as its servers are (I assume) overwhelmed with usage, and that results in people like me becoming pretty damn irritated far too regularly.

So everyone, feel free to use this post to lament about Twitter. Sure, we all love it – Did I mention you can follow me @mskut? No? Oops! Well, you can. – but what the hell is up with these issues!?

* I definitely just made that word up, but I think we should spread it like wildfire. It fits quite well with “blogosphere,” after all.