Tag Archives: Twitter

Making a culturematic of yourself (the Nick Sherrard way)

Everyone constructs an identity on line.  

Some do it with wit and panache.  

Others, mea culpa, are more plodding and less interesting.

This morning I laughed out loud when I read Nick Sherrard’s description of himself on Twitter.

Note: CCTV refers to the system of cameras that blankets the UK.   We see Nick standing one of the few places in Britain that does not appear on CCTV, aka the moral high ground (at sea level).  

(Post script: thanks to Barbara Monteiro, Connie Perry, and Sarah Fogarty for a great conversation yesterday.)  

Ethnographic reportage: one tweet at a time

I love people who tweet from inside their lives. 

I really love people who tweet from inside an event.

Here, first image, is someone tweeting from inside a visit to the printer. (Read from bottom to top.)  

[I apologize for the quality of this image.  I am using Skitch and WordPress, and this appears to be the best I can do.  Click on the image for clarity.]

Confined to 140 characters, a tiny keyboard, and the discomfort of texting while waiting and standing, this can’t be ethnographic in any conventional sense.  But what it lacks in cultural background, it makes up in vividness and emotion.

Here, in the second image, is “Johann Gutenberg” reporting the frustrations of having to sit in a meeting that presumes to rally the troops with vapid, brainless generalities.  As Johann reminds us, it’s like being forced to witness the death of your own intelligence.  

Working in the moment has a certain heroism.  ’Johann” is acting as a kind of war correspondent, bravely posting under fire, vulnerable to discovery at any moment. 

“This close to heckling.”  Brilliant.  

How many millions of times has this impulse gone repressed in corporate America. Well, why just corporate America?  Educational, medical, governmental America, too.  There is no shortage of stupid people keen to colonize our consciousness with their personal limitations.  

In a more perfect world, we would know who WWGD really is.  (I am betting he or she is not really a 15th century goldsmith, not unless someone got their time machine working.)   We would also know the person who staged the Sales 101 meeting.  The light of public revelation can sometimes discourage stupidity.  Not always but sometimes.

I believe Twitter sprang from a technology designed for emergency personnel, people who needed to send tiny messages in the heat of the moment to solve very immediate problems. But it is learning to serve other purposes, and in some cases, and the right hands, it becomes a new observation platform for the study of American culture.

Google + and the late-adopter advantage

Ooph.  To be standing in the intersection, when the new comes roaring through.  My hat, pipe and papers all went flying.  

I finally, belatedly, got my invitation to Google + and I have been fiddling with it.  

On first glance, it feels like an elegant restatement of the social media proposition.  

Indeed, it so simplifies and clarifies that it may actually claim a “late adopter” advantage, forcing on Facebook and Twitter what Veblen once called “the penalty of taking the lead.” 

The fun of being on Google+ as the moment is that it is filled with people doing “edge finding,” trying to figure it what it is, how it works, what you can make it do.  

Please come find me there.  And if you need an invitation, send me an email at grant27@gmail.com.  (But I think by this name the gates may be open, no invitation required.)