Twitter, Facebook status updates, and the like. It’s a wonderful tool that I can argue has validity and purpose in helping maintain “community” with our close and far-flung friends. I usually tend to see it as an online version of a brief phone conversation, but one where the rest of our friends are listening in on the party line. You might not be interested in my recent revelation on the wonders of the Wafels and Dinges mobile van, but for Heidi and Luca, they understand the full context of that one. Yet, I often wonder about the utterly inane purpose behind it all.
Needless to say, I’m not the only one thinking about this. There are plenty of NY Times editorials, news and updates via Wired (and of course, only in Oklahoma would a man be arrested for twittering Tea Party Death Threats) and the rest of commentary and speculation via the internet. I simply wonder if anybody is really that interested.
I just never imagined those same thoughts were occurring over one hundred years ago. In David Crane’s biography of Captain Scott, Scott of the Antarctic, I discovered Shackleton thought the same about his first Antarctic diary, 107 years ago:
I turned in about 1am. What a ridiculous thing it must seem to other people to read a diary where such a statement as ‘I turned in at 1am’ appears as if they were interested in the time another fellow mortal at the other end of the world went to bed… Those sort of items are the penalties that one’s friends must pay when struggling to gain a little real information in these reams of paper.
E.H. Shackleton, diary, 14 July 1902