Cultural Irony: Twitter Users Are Dad and Mom, Not the Kids

nagytwitterThe New York Times has an ironic piece up about Twitter users.  Apparently, they’re older, not young.  Surprising.

Especially funny to me was the quotation from an 18-year-old girl (photo: Tim Shaffer/NYT).  She is not necessarily the embodiment of maturity–she gets tons of text messages a day–but she has some funny words about the purpose of Twitter:

Kristen Nagy, an 18-year-old from Sparta, N.J., sends and receives 500 text messages a day. But she never uses Twitter, even though it publishes similar snippets of conversations and observations.

“I just think it’s weird and I don’t feel like everyone needs to know what I’m doing every second of my life,” she said.

Though the article doesn’t seem to give the exact percentage of older Twitter users, it suggests that a very small portion of users are young:

Her reluctance to use Twitter, a feeling shared by others in her age group, has not doomed the microblogging service. Just 11 percent of its users are aged 12 to 17, according to comScore.

So here’s the ironic thing.  An 18-year-old girl, seemingly more likely to be narcissistic than older folks, actually thinks it’s “weird” to tell others her actions for “every second” of her life.  Yet the older generation, seemingly less likely to be narcissistic than younger folks, thinks it’s perfectly normal to tell others of their moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour activities.  Huh?

Before too many people protest at this point, let me say as one inevitably must that one can use Twitter for good ends.  I’ve seen it happen.  It can connect people meaningfully, help make friendships, communicate information, and so on.  So that’s on the table.

But I do find it funny that this girl and tons of her peers would likely say that they think it’s “weird” to share needless information about oneself with the public.  Does this tell us something?  Maybe it does; maybe it doesn’t.  It seems worth thinking over.  Who’s that knocking at the door?  Lady Irony?  Is that you?


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