Tag Archives: thought conformity

The world is strong-arming me to get mobile.

10 Jan

I don’t have a cell phone. I have very little interest in changing this.

It irritates some of my friends. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out, but when I am having a drink at the pub with a bunch of people and half of them are elbows deep in a text I think ‘not for me’. I get by fine with a land-line and the many communication options my Mac has to offer. I got by fine until last week that is.

My Shaw phone modem malfunctioned. I not only couldn’t make or receive calls, but nobody could buzz me from the front door of my building. I lived with this for a few days but I eventually had to make the 45 minute call to Shaw to get the modem replaced. Of course I had to make this call elsewhere than home.

‘Your phone is not working at all?’
‘Nope, and my buzzer doesn’t work either.’
‘What’s your cell number?’
‘I don’t have one. I’m one of those guys. Last one I bet, right?’
‘Can you use a friend’s phone?’
‘I can’t ask a friend to wait with me from 8 AM to 8 PM for your guy on a work day. Can’t he just toss a stone at my window when he gets here?’

I arranged for the technician to check in with the coffee shop in my building to be let in. So long as he made it before 4:30 PM this would work. After that no dice. At least most of the ridiculous appointment waiting period was covered.

But really, what a hassle. At this point my refusal to join the mobile masses is the real problem. I’m the asshole, not Shaw.

The tech made it before 4:30 PM and my phone works again. Like somebody who made a promise to god in order to get out of a jam – and survived – I don’t feel much like keeping my promise to get a cell phone. But really it is time, or is it?

Twitter causes thought conformity

8 Dec

When we get a tweet that says or links to something that we agree with, we re-tweet it. One button click to vouch for and spread an idea without any need to explain, defend, or even really understand it.

When we get a tweet that we don’t agree with, we don’t re-tweet it. Not spreading an idea is not the same thing as disagreeing with it. It is the equivalent to walking away from a discussion.

Thoughtful disagreement on Twitter is understandably difficult because of its 140 character limit. Blogs, along with social news sites like Digg and Reddit, however, are wonderful places for discussion and debate. Comment sections are my favourite to read and I’ve learned a lot from people with markedly different opinions than me and the author of the original post. True, Twitter drives traffic to blogs, but chances are we only tweet links to blog posts we agree with. Why would we want to increase the exposure or associate ourselves with an idea we disagree with?

If we agree with the content we tweet, likely our followers and the people we follow do too. Why? Because the people we follow on Twitter are public, we tend to follow people who are similar to us. Sure, I might read a conservative columnist I venomously disagree with in a newspaper, to reconsider or deepen my own arguments (or just rile myself up), but would I feel comfortable following him on Twitter, when his reputation becomes associated with mine in the eyes of my peers? Doubtful. So on Twitter, we are primarily exposing ourselves to ideas we agree with from groups of people who share similar views as us.