I've been thinking a lot about Twitter over the last few weeks, partly because it's been in the news (apparently Demi Moore twittered heavily from a post-Oscars shindig, keeping the peeps up to date with celebrity fro-ing and to-ing), partly because 140 characters feels like a haiku challenge, but mostly because of their curly, birdy logo:
But what Twitter has really got me thinking about is how accessing information about an event or thing before it happens changes my experience of it.
I read a post the other day on the digihub blog about Twitter and the earthquake in Melbourne. Apparently someone had tweeted about the quake within 20 seconds of it starting ("um earthquake?"), while it took 20 minutes more for info to start appearing on mainstream media websites, and over an hour to make it onto telly.
So We the People can use Twitter and other online outlets to pass information between ourselves at a cracking pace, which is all well and good and would certainly be beneficial if one or many of us were sitting on the loo when the quake started ("um earthquake?", "no! beans!").
On the other hand, my compulsion to ferret through the whole silly list of online things I've signed up to means that I often preemptively deflate the things I plan to do. For example, last night I went to see Coldplay, which, I'd read from online reviews, tweets from people who had seen the Perth show, comments on blogs etc, was meant to be pretty great. Someone in all that ether mentioned a particular effect the band used during the song 'Yellow' so of course I had to check it out on YouTube.
The end result was that they played the song, the thing I'd read about and seen on YouTube happened, my inside voice muttered "yeah, yeah, seen it," and I felt a little stupid for paying $140 for a great seat then ruining it for myself.
Am I doing myself out of great experiences by reading about them first, or have I just shifted that thrilling moment of discovery and newness back from the event itself to the reading about it? Would you pay $140 for a ticket then watch a clip on YouTube?