Why Twitter is Sinking Some Relationships


In the age of Twitter, it may be necessary to lay down some rules - such as, don't let your personal gadgets interfere with your personal relationships. Or to say it in Twitterese: Put down that phone! (Only 20 characters.) For some, the rule on a first date with a woman is clear: No Twitter twaddle. No cellphones, no iPod, no BlackBerry, no blinking device of any kind. "When I take a woman out and her cellphone is glued to her hand, there is no second date," says a man who meets women through MySpace. "One woman was so obsessed with MySpace, she had to check it while with me at my home - and then proceeded to get into a virtual argument with her ex. I escorted her to the door."

Think that's bad? Try this scenario: You are having dinner in a restaurant with a friend and you are both twittering away, sending out banal remarks - "tweets" - in 140 characters or less to hundreds or thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people around the world who "follow" you on the rapidly growing microblogging messaging service. On your phone, you see her tweet: "I don't like the chicken I'm eating." What? Why doesn't she send it back? Suddenly, it hits you: She's telling scores of random strangers around the world that she doesn't like her meal, but can't be bothered to tell you sitting at the same table?

As seen in USA Today, Twitter is not the only culprit in the competition for a loved one's attention: Facebook and MySpace, e-mail via BlackBerry and iPhone, blogging and video blogging, video games, plus text messaging (and its naughty twin, sexting). The fight between pop-music couple Rihanna and Chris Brown started because, according to the police report, she saw a text message from another woman on his cellphone and got upset. But Twitter is the latest big thing, and it's not always put to inane use. Last week, The New York Times reported on its front page that young dissidents in the former Soviet state of Moldova used Twitter (and Facebook and text messaging) to organize a huge rally against the government that led to a riot. Also, some police and fire agencies are using Twitter to spread information quickly, such as word of traffic tie-ups or suspect descriptions.

Launched in July 2006, Twitter is the fastest-growing social networking service, recording a 1,841% increase in accounts between February 2008 and February 2009, says co-founder Biz Stone. It now has an estimated 8 million users. Still, all the world's not a-Twittering (yet); is there really a problem with personal gadgets ruining personal relationships? "I do think it's widespread," sighs Soren Gordhamer, an expert on the over-stressed and over-connected, and author of the forthcoming "Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected." Gordhamer says technology aimed at bringing people closer through communication also may be creating distance.

"There are cool aspects. The challenge is: When do we use them and when do they use us?" Gordhamer says. "A tool isn't good or bad; it's just a tool. The question often not explored is what are some of the ways in which it's actually reducing quality of life and relationships?"

IRL,
Erin



Do you think the net is dumbing us down?


Recent research suggests that men and women use the Internet differently. The results strengthen stereotypes that men are visual and focused on destinations and women are verbal and inclined to emotional connections and community-building.

The jury is still out on whether all this online activity is rewiring the circuitry of our brains. But as scientists and sociologists begin to probe the Internet's impact, some wonder if it is reinforcing sex differences or doing exactly the reverse, leading us instead toward a brave new wired world of gender neutrality. Then there are some who suggest the real concern is whether the Internet is dumbing us down. Hogwash, say others. What if, instead, Google were making us smarter?

The knowledge that the Internet provides may be fragmented, unlike the "readily bundled" information of a book, but it allows informed users to be the author of their own searches. The nonlinear approach to information-gathering on the Internet can help a person learn to navigate the world better. How your brain adapts to the Internet depends in part on how you make the Internet adapt to your needs. The trick, is teaching Web-savviness. As seen in The Washington Post, read the full story "The Online Male Takes a Licking and Keeps on Clicking" here...

DBD,
Erin

5 Times You Shouldn't Text

As seen in Cosmopolitan magazine, firing off too many text messages can kill a budding relationship. Casual electronic notes have become a huge part of dating, and experts speculate that texts have surpassed actual phone calls between many couples. New love is exciting and it's easy to find yourself with an itchy text messaging trigger finger (or thumbs, rather) when in the throes of it. Just beware: There's such a thing as too much texting... overdoing it can freak anyone out. Here's when to step away!

1) Don't do it "right after" your first few dates. It may be tempting to contact someone "right away" that same night, but remember, meeting people takes time.

2) No matter who you are, don't do it when you're drunk. Stop yourself from sending a tipsy message, and do not send a message that suggests you two meet up ASAP.

3) Don't text when you're angry. It's hard to "take back" and it can actually sound meaner than it is.

4) We know you may like to have fun, but don't text when you're trying to be funny. The fact is sarcasm and joking can come off as aggressive.

5) Try to resist become Mr. or Mrs. Text-o-rama by not sending too many texts in one day. Once you're in an ongoing relationship, you may be tempted to rely on texting as a regular form of communication, and there's nothing wrong with staying in touch that way sometimes. But electronic communication discourages phone conversations and one-on-one time.

And don't pull an EWI either,
Erin