Pain of Potential

It feels like May, to me, when frisbee season is in full swing and I’m playing three times a week or more and I run and throw for hours without noticing. It also means that new people join the our league here in Amsterdam, and that inevitably means all those questions that I can never answer properly about what I do.

What do I do? “I’m an internet journalist.” “I’m a podcast journalist.” “I’m a freelancer.” “I do a little of everything.” “I’m under-employed.” Or my personal favorite “I drive a red boat around town.” No doubt it has scared away a potential date or two.

And so this evening I’m reading up a bit on the wonderful Portuguese blog written by Antonio Granado about journalism and the internet. Recently he pointed out some facts about the online application known as twitter. If you’ve no idea what twitter is, I can summarize what you’re missing – Potentially great, amazingly useless.

Why so bitter? It is like many things in this life and on these internets, the power to harness creative energy and people through revolutionary communication…. used to broadcast complete nothingness.

Picture it, you go on twitter and you have a small collection of friends, a common thing with all the internet applications these days. And whenever you easily and quickly type in a 2 line message, all your friends can see it in a real time chronological list. NOW, ideally, this could be used for say… a group of journalists… or say gardeners.. writing brief updates about a project, problem, or pressing issue that collectively, the group could certainly benefit from hearing about and responding to it. The same has always been said for how blogging or lots of different online applications could be used.

So I joined twitter many months ago, loaded it up with 20 or so of my favorite videobloggers, podcasters, and those I consider internet activists.. concerned about understanding the world around them. I purposely do not add another 40 to 60 people, most likely some very nice people who I suppose want to hear my little messages, but whose messages I just do not want to spend time reading.

But whether it is on my list, or someone else’s list, most of what is happening is simply garbage. Occasionally I find that even I join in and write some useless garbage like “trying to figure out where the socks get lost in the laundry process.” Just one more in the pile of messages about who is bored. Who is eating. Who is watching TV.

So much potential in the hands of we who somehow don’t take advantage…don’t manage to get passed ourselves and our provincial thoughts or activities. And then we hear about how twitter is growing and how amazing it is and wow what an application.

Amazing indeed. Some guy just announced he’s going to sleep while another one is about to watch the latest Sopranos. Rest easy world, today’s internet user is highly complex and concerned about the problems of this world.