Twitter Dérive

Author: joe

Tuesday, 24 March, 2009 - 10:36

With the mass influx of new immigrants to twitter, it is currently popular, especially amongst press journalists, to point out its pointlessness and futility, and the vacuousness of the twit who twitters. 'Twats!' they cry, "with nothing better to do than to tell the world what it is they are doing, since they are never doing anything other than twittering tweets..." How idiotic to tell us that you're waiting for a bus. How naive to think we care about the mochaccino you're sitting down to. How arrogant to think we need to know about the banalities of your life in 140 characters or less. These journalists would much rather we read the 400 words they write about how crap what we're doing is.

The truth (or at least what I like to call the Zizekian switcherooney, in which the dialectic is reversed and shown to be more true than the original thesis) is that actually every paid-for word written by the average journalist is worthless pap. As Aristotle said, "all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind." The journalist prostitutes the written form in order to propel himself into a world of fiction - the world of minor celebrity, exclusive dining and snide superiority.

Meanwhile the lowly twitterer turns away from her productivity, and rejects the consumption of her time by the demands of capital: instead she considers her existence, and her being, and takes a vestal word-polaroid of something trivial and yet immense: her life moves in and out of representation and is, just for a moment, an examined life: by the self and by the other. Those others, the tweet-readers, too, abscond from their clocked-on time, and explore the psychogeography of the stream of characters that is the new real world. The closeness of disposable reality and its impermanence, the impossibility of its archival and retrieval, is precisely the beautiful opposite of the dead ossification of the world that the journalist strives for.

Categories: detournement, derive, Guy-Debord, psychogeography, Zizek, twitter, journalism, dialectic,
Comments: 2


Very interesting subject Joe, I particularly like the idea of an examined life. As it stands I am neither a Twitter cynic nor a fan, I guess I'm just skeptical. Writing my essay on The Culture Industry and reading Adorno and Horkheimers, Dialectic of Enlightenment I almost fear the possibility of conformity but at the same time fear being out of the loop. So I find myself in an impossible situation as to whether I should become part of things such as Twitter or not. Clearly with the course I am studying it would make sense to be part of that which I will one day create. So am I right to be thinking about this or is it just one of those things you should just not care about and do? So what's really worse, being a cynic, conforming or just not really thinking about it at all? Decisions, decisions...

Author: Scott Sent: 2009-03-25 02:24:22

"not really thinking about it all" - I'd say that's the worst option, because it simply defers your thought onto something else, on the subject of which you may also be a cynic or a conformist.

If "not really thinking about it all" were possible, I'd go for that (since that's the definition of transcending the ossification of being); in the absence of being able to empty your mind, do whatever you feel like, preferably the option which brings the most joy and opportunity for play. :-)

Author: joe Sent: 2009-03-26 09:11:25

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