Thursday, March 12, 2009

To tweet or not to tweet

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?


Miles McClagan said...

Popular culture these days is pretty much entirely mandated on spoiling surprises. In Hobart, there was a manic obsession once upon a time with spoiling who won Survivor, and it's got worse since then...

If Lily Allen toured, I'd know everything about the show even if I didn't try, but I'd still go, as a life experience...

Kettle said...

You're certainly right about spoilt surprises. A friend of mine determined not to see any of the ads re: the new Star Wars movies before seeing the movies themselves and it required a very long term and dedicated effort. I think I'm going to try harder to avoid news about things I really want to do/see from now on; the parts of Coldplay's concert that were totally unexpected were the best.

All we need to know is Lily Allen's tour dates then we can switch the telly/computer/radio off :)

the projectivist said...

what is Miles talking about?
Lily Allen HAS toured.
isn't she here right now?
she was on some program like Australia's Top Model Dancers Not Dancing With The Stars.
or something
the other week.
she was awful.
my sister bought me the cd and i had to pretend that i liked her
and i have played it in the car
(but only when i'm by myself)
because ever second word is 'fuck'.

you bad, BAD girl!
watching that youtube before going to the show.
you'll have to just ban yourself from previewing future bands.
or else
wait until they release the dvd and watch it at home in your pajamas.

Mad Cat Lady said...

I am a little ... um ... overkeen on a band & follow them about the country. Having seen the same show five times does not spoil it for me, although a couple of the others were getting a little tired of Dan Kelly by that stage (?WTF? not possible - SOO cute) - I always want to know everything and run twice daily google searches for any crumb of information I can get.

But they don't twitter. Heck. they barely talk at all. Maybe that's why it's fun. they don't make it easy :)

Kettle said...

Oh Project, I know it was a silly, silly thing to do. It was one of those stupid moments where you think to yourself (as you're typing into the YouTube search box "greatest band ever [sorry Maddy] with hottest lead singer singing a song about a primary colour"): "if I really wasn't meant to see this clip, if it really was a bad thing to do, someone would stop me". But of course, no one did (I cleverly waited until no-one else was home!) so watch it I did. Oh bum!

(I must also tell you that I've recorded Coldplay's Sydney concert from 2003 from ABC 2 and cannot WAIT to get my jarmies on for a few hours of Monsieur Martin...).

ALSO Project! 'Top Model Dancers Not Dancing With The Stars' - gold!

And Maddy, that makes me feel better: if you really love your band you're going to love them even more after five shows. Right! It's back onto YouTube for me!

I respect a band who doesn't twitter and give too much away. If Mr Darcy had told Lizzy that he ardently admired and loved her at the ball at Netherfield where would the mystery (and the rest of the book!) be?

the projectivist said...

i must admit, i did watch 60 minutes last weekend, and was most surprised by the loveliness of Mr Chris Martin. did you see that, Ms Kettle? he came across as driven and talented and quite charming.

Kettle said...

I did indeed, Ms Project. I must say, when I wrote 'hottest lead singer' above I felt like a. a twitty teenager, and b. like I'd sworn in an art gallery. It helps that Mr Martin is easy on the eye, but what draws me to the band are their song-writing style and enthusiasm. There was enough drive, talent and charm at their concert to fill the Acer Arena.

What's your band of choice, Ms P?

the projectivist said...

right now i cannot get enough of Belle & Sebastian and the song 'If She Wants Me'.

i might as well just leave it on repeat. makes me feel happy.