Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

The downside of twittering as Japan goes at it 24 hours a day

23 Comments

The debate persists as to whether the web expands our horizons or narrows them; whether it fosters knowledge, ideas and thought or, by dignifying them, mediocrity and mental bilge. The advent of Twitter in 2006 heightened the controversy. Is it good for us to be awash in “tweets” of 140 characters or less? Is this “communication?”

“I’m not saying don’t Twitter,” writes web planner Junichiro Nakagawa in Shukan Post (April 23). “I’m not issuing a warning that Twitter is turning us into idiots.” This is obviously leading up to a “but,” and when it comes its unexpectedly mild, given that he’s led off his article by stating, “As someone who works on the Net, I have complained that the web is a haven for fools and people with nothing better to do, a community not of wisdom but of stupidity.”

“But” what, then? “But expectations that Twitter can change society… are too high. It’s best not to expect too much – not only from Twitter but from the web in general.”

True, Twitter tweets helped keep Iranian protests going last summer against an allegedly stolen election by a government that controls the press and deploys compliant security forces. True, also, that Barack Obama used Twitter to overcome overwhelming odds against his outsider’s bid for the U.S. presidency. On the other hand, as Nakagawa notes, Obama stopped tweeting after coming to office.

“I myself find the tweets of people in my industry useful," Nakagawa says. "I admit that Twitter has the potential to make it easier for us to communicate valuable information.” The real-time quality of tweets is another advantage.

The trouble is, he says, tweeting becomes compulsive, whether there’s something to communicate or not, and most of the time there isn’t. Why tell the world, or even your friends and “followers,” “I’m eating now.” Who cares?

In four years, Twitter has corralled some 70 million tweeters worldwide, 5 million of whom are Japanese. If Japanese flock to Twitter, and to Internet chat rooms in general, says Nakagawa, the prime appeal is anonymity, which allows a socially constrained society to throw off its shackles. Good, but chronic vacuity is a powerful argument for self-restraint. “If you have no valuable experience to impart, or valuable point of view to communicate, there’s simply no point,” Nakagawa rather diplomatically sums up.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
Login to comment

I wish Japanese people woudl stop thinking Japan's situation is different from anywhere else. This "Twitter is for fools" idea is worldwide, not just in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obama stopped tweeting after coming to office

He might be busy.

On the other hand, this article could have been written when Twitter, blogging in general and, before even those, email began. I remember, back when email was in its infancy, of getting messages along the lines of, 'I'm eating lunch now.' In other words, this ariticle has

no valuable experience to impart, or valuable point of view to communicate

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Complaining about how useless twitter is is almost as popular as twitter itself. Lighten up folks, it's just another way to communicate. Which, in case you haven't noticed, unless you are giving a lecture about astrophysics, is largely filled with useless (but sometimes entertaining) nonsense anyway.

How is twitter any different from a couple of goofs chatting over a cup of coffee?

Everybody thinks they are in a position to say that everybody else is a bunch of idiots who don't "get it."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The internet is either empowerment or brain dead distraction. We each have to decide. I use it to learn about music from all over the world, to find like minded people and to empower things I do offline. It is a tool, not a home and is only a doorway to information. The next steps should be in the real world.

Twitter and other "sound bite" forms of communication are killing the beauty of language. Once upon a time a love letter to someone would be judged in part by the elegance of language, selection of words and poetic sentiments. Even debates were once judged by the expert use of language.

But things like twitter reduce everything to sound bites with no more elegance than a cigarette butt. And it is infecting other places as people increasingly dismiss detail in favor of a one line clip. This is not true communication but is instead the dumbing down of language. At this rate the day is coming when language will consist only of broken slang, sound bites and icons. Tragic.

The internet is a tool, period. Use it to do what you need and then go out and interact with the world. I do fear that the web, and all our little devices are leaving us increasingly isolated as we are unable to meet or talk with people we encounter in the real world. Instead we jot little notes off to each other. This is sad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It entirely depends what you are using it for.

I personally think there is a suspicious link between the taking off of social networking sites and the global recession.....no-one is doing any work anymore - my friends are forever sending me virtual drinks and trying to figure out whether we are "movie compatible" and what 80`s song I am.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Twitter is fine. However, some of the grammatical errors I find are astounding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have never seen a twitter,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why tell the world, or even your friends and “followers,” “I’m eating now.” Who cares?

moron. no one worth following does that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm eating right now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Communication is a two way information exchange; twitter is for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well let us all remain mindful of the thought that "twitter" may have been preceded, etymologically, by "twit".

"twit" (noun) An insignificant or bothersome person (orig. 1920-25) "twit" (noun) To taunt, tease, reproach

Either would seem appropriate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL, sk4ek!

But seriously, to twit or not to twit? Who really cares!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd like to change my user status to "bored"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bamboohat at 09:17 AM JST - 20th April How is twitter any different from a couple of goofs chatting over a cup of coffee?

Perhaps it's the same for the sender. However, one really has to wonder if the dozens, hundreds or thousands of people "following" someone on Twitter don't have something better to do with their time.

Everybody thinks they are in a position to say that everybody else is a bunch of idiots who don't "get it."

And your post gives us yet one more chance for that. Thank you!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kirakira25 at 10:39 AM JST - 20th April I personally think there is a suspicious link between the taking off of social networking sites and the global recession.....no-one is doing any work anymore - my friends are forever sending me virtual drinks and trying to figure out whether we are "movie compatible" and what 80`s song I am.

I guess you gotta ask yourself whether you don't need some new "friends."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i found twitter interesting for a few weeks then I felt "the chronic vacuity". nice one. and plus i like looking at images, something visual.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This kinda reminds me of an anime series I saw called Kino's Journey. There was an episode where in this one town no one would leave their homes and inter-Communication between people was nearly nonexistent. This was due in part to everyone knowing each other's thoughts lol. Twitter I guess in a way is no different. It gives people a means of saving face without physically interacting with one another. Although twitter really isn't any different then any other social networking tool like Facebook, Myspace, YouTube etc etc. Has it expanded our horizons and brought us closer together? That might be a bit of a stretch but in it's own way has helped bridge the communication gap and given people more of a voice if nothing else. Although to much of anything isn't good either as Twitter isn't the bible. On the flip side it does make one think though if this ultimate experiment we call the World Wide Web has worked? Does it just offer an excuse now for people to be more introverted and anti-social? A society living in the shadows so to speak.

It's just easier to hide behind our avatars and our alias's and see the world through an hourglass. It is always better to actually interact with people face to face and make a difference in the world instead of just twitting about it. This post is really a sign of our times and what it means to live in the information age. How exactly we interpret that and use it in our every days lives is entirely up to us. I think deep down there is an inherent need for people to be part of something bigger then themselves. Communication or lack thereof is really the biggest roadblock we have to face in this world. Although I am not sure Twitting is really the answer as I personally could never get everything I wanted to say in just a couple sound bites. At least JT give me that opportunity to fill in that gap. In retrospect though I guess Twitter has it's place but should never replace real communication with real people. It is only a tool after all and not an extension of our conscience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Twittering is just mental masturbation writ large. Every man a king, every thought of monumental importance, the Emperor's new clothes. Yet, the sheer base nature of its exposition throws a monstrous shadow over us all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who you follow on Twitter is the issue. I follow health professionals et al. useful, worthwhile accounts. Some people, ie: "mmm... this coffee is good" Tweeters are not worth following. I've deleted many...

Before I Tweet, I always think "Will this be beneficial to anyone?" ie: funny, educational, informative or etc. The post about coffee could be better if it was "Best cafe in Minato-ku, Nagoya: Koji's Coffee --> LINK. I recommend Koji's Special Blend."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's a great, succinct post, SoggyGyoza. The quote in the last paragraph sums things up rather nicely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ReikiZen Well it is real communication with real people when you use your real name!

I work on Twitter most of the day and I can confirm that the guy who wrote this article has absolutely no idea about what Twitter is

0 ( +0 / -0 )

5 Reasons Why Twitter Is The Best Social Media: http://ht.ly/1EyHQ

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@michaelqtodd All of the social media is degrading the very thing that it is said to increase.

The inability of people to "Socialize" is exactly the problem with doing it behind the computer... wait the irony where I am writing this just struck me... touche, good Sir.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites