Friday, February 10, 2012

A World of Twit

How can we describe the first decade of the 21st century? 

One could always "tag" a photo of it and put the picture on Facebook, but FB is becoming complicated, lame, obsolete and seems to be following the same irrelevant path as it's sleeping drunk-uncle-on-the-couch predecessor, My Space

The antiquated email is completely out of the question because who has the time to answer all those bulky paragraphs of words organized into complete sentences

No, the first decade of the 21st Century can be summarized in a mere 140 words or less entry, and the best means for a rapid spitting out of 140 words or less is the choice of Hipsters, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and all Americans alike.


This fast-food version of social networking has become the most dominant force in communicating abbreviated opinions and loose-change ideologies complete with a new language comprised of non-vowels and substitute spelling. 

A simple "U gt 2 C ths Vd on Utb", is the new Shakespearian language soaring across countless Twitter accounts as one tries to get the message out of some stupid video of a kitten trick uploaded on You Tube

Indeed, this is the new American language. 

To get an understanding of how dominant Twitter has become consider the recent Super Bowl XLVI record for most tweeted sports program ever. The matchup between The New England Tom Brady's and the New York Giants recorded over 12,223 tweets throughout the game. An astonishing 10,000 tweets per second (tps) were made in the final three minute. 

Madonna's lip syncing mid-game showcase recorded 10,245 tps making that fiasco the first Super Bowl halftime performance to set this mark. 

Putting how staggering these numbers are into perspective, one has to look at other events that have (or have not) shaped the world we live in and the amount of tps they received. 

Beyonce stuns all at the VMA 2011 awards and  Twitter records 8,868 tps in reaction.

Tim Tebow's electrifying Jesus enhanced 2012 playoff OT victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers managed even more tps at 9,420. 

Notable events but less tps numbers include the death of Steve Jobs at 6,049, the 2011 earthquake on the US East Coast at 5,550 tps and the devastating apocalyptic Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear meltdown trio that hit Japan rated 5,530 tps. 

But to truly understand where America's mindset is, one of the most important news stories of the 21st Century only could only manage 5,008 tps. That was on the day that the world found out US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden. 

That's 3,860 tps less than Beyounce's revealing maternity secret and 5,237 tps less than Madonna's ridiculous attempt at showing the world she's still relevant. 

Some could argue that less folks were using Twitter in May 9th, 2011 than a week ago and therefore less people were scurrying to their Smartphones to tweet this awesome news. 

Okay, sure. 

I am going to go out on a solid oak limb and say that this discrepancy is all a matter of priorities.  

Folks want to tweet their 140 bag-o-scrabble word opinion on whether Madonna was truly lip-syncing or MIA really flip-off the camera instead of expressing a political view or opinion on the "disposing" of one of America's greatest 21st century enemies. 

Unfortunately, this is the American society we live in, and regardless if one chooses to ignore Twitter or not, this form of internet social networking is here to stay. 

What is increasingly evident is that this form of socialization is becoming the communication norm. Those who find themselves without Twitter accounts will soon become part of online nomadic tribes in search of the "Land of Milk and Conversation".  

Apart from the marketing and publicity end of twitting, can the Arts survive in a world of Twit? 

If language is truly being broken down and American society (if not globally) is becoming a world of 140 or less words, will the idea of Art and creativity hold up to this social networking ADD? 

According to an online article by Ruth Jaminson of The Guardian, the possibility that Twitter breaks down an elitist idea that the process of creating art should be confined to studios; furthermore, the finished product can only be seen by those who can only afford to see (or purchase) the work. 

Ms Jaminson asks, that by "following an artist (on Twitter) as they create a new work can democratize art or simply demystify the creative process behind it--or both?" 


Art in whatever form, music to dramatic, needs to be structurally organic in order to draw upon that one quintessential element that connect artist and viewer. 


Tweeting about the creative process or sharing the finished work does not replace that simple connection felt when an individual can see, hear, touch or listen to an artist's work. 

This interaction is what bonds us as humans.

We have to accept Twitter as being part of our lives but it cannot replace the humanity behind creativity. 

Our ability to communicate has been one of the greatest tools we, as humans, have created. This tool has been instrumental in building some of the greatest pieces of literature, artwork, music and film. 

We cannot allow this ability to be reduced to 140 words or less. 

Otherwise we will be in a world of Twit. 

Matthew LaChiusa is the Executive/Artistic Director of The American Rep Theater of WNY. He does not have a Twitter account but ART does. To follow ART just hit the @artofwny and your Twitter world is complete.