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Friday, March 23, 2007

Twitter: Jennicam For All

What if you were nobody, who became somebody, and there were weirdos who wanted to watch your every move? Let them, of course?

My friend Mitch Joel writes, in part:

I think the tremblings of Twitter and the growth of Facebook are pointing us to a new era in Branding. It’s here and we’re paying scant attention to it. Personal Brands are going to start growing to levels usually relegated to, what marketing industry experts call, “super brands.” Who needs Starbucks when you can have Scoble? Who needs Rolls Royce when you can have Rubel?

You're joking, right Mitch? Or is there too much ringing in your ears today from the echo chamber? We are going to have to have a good long chat about this in person so I can understand where you're coming from, because personally I will take Starbucks over Scoble and Rolls Royce over Rubel (as wonderful as these dudes may be). Maybe we can just chalk it up to Starbucks being apples, and Scoble being oranges.

It makes me think about Erving Goffman's concept of frontstage and backstage behavior. It's interesting that Goffman drew attention to the concept of the Operating Theater as a device to elevate the status of some medical professionals. The play's the thing.

This veneer of immediacy & transparency provided by Twitter is quite an interesting phenomenon. How are legends made? A lot of it is in what you leave out. If Twitter had been the saxophone-du-jour when Clinton had been running for office, you can certainly imagine that old smoothie twittering many (but not all) of his movements. John Edwards Twitters. I think this says a lot.

So here's what a heavily-twittered day might look like for me if it were today - and all the good parts were edited out, and the "bad," "less than inspirational," or "confidential" stuff were left in:

- 7:44: Woken by screaming of cat, Walter, at neighbour cat

- 8:03: Grind & make coffee. Starbucks beans, not fair trade. I made it too weak.

- 9:00: Threw water in general direction of neighbor cat, Giorgio, who torments Walter

- 9:14: Compliment Carolyn for emptying dishwasher the night before. I sure didn't do it.

- 9:41: Finally wearing pants.

- 9:59: Brief phone call agreed to contract with XXXXXXXX [sorry can't do full transparency on this one], same details as previous email exchange. Very pleased with 9-month duration.

- 10:07: Put in Respond.com quote for Business Liability Insurance, because I don't currently have any, to facilitate becoming an Authorized Reseller for XXXXXXX

- 10:20: Hiding in home office with door closed, hoping Carolyn deals with tradesman scheduled to arrive at 10:30.

- 10:41: Duct cleaning estimate dudes from Sears are late.

- 11:30: Banking errand. Resisted picking up takeout from Flip, Toss, & Thai. Or did I? The Emerald Curry is irresistable. Yesterday, my friend Raja made fun of my heavy eating schedule.

- 2:00: Client call with XXXXXXXXX (sorry this one is actually under NDA. so much for twittering!)

- 2:10: I'm gesturing with my right hand as I talk with XXXXXX. HUGE stack of parking tickets just fell to the floor! %$$!!

- 2:55: Tell colleague I'm swamped the rest of the afternoon

- 3:07: Nicest day of the year. Park car on Bloor Street, walk to entrance of High Park, go for run. Yes, I drive to my run which is only a 10 min walk away.

- 3:07: Twittering about running, but I'm really too lazy to run today. I usually am.

- 5:20: Knock off for Yoga - Carolyn's. I do a workout to make up for not running. I'd joke about ogling the Yoga class, but I don't even know what room it's in.

- 7:10: Sushi.

- 9:00: What Not to Wear

- 10:00: Catching up on storyboarding new site for XXXXXX, my second job (don't tell anyone)

- midnight: I love folding laundry!

- 1:00 a.m. Why can I not concentrate on writing this book chapter! 1:00 a.m. used to be the best time to write when I was 25 yrs. old!

Hmm, even with pretend candor I had to leave the "best parts" out. So isn't that what Twitter is about?

I'd love to see hyper-realistic Twitter reports for any of the following:

Richard Nixon
Lance Armstrong
Willie Nelson

Probably, though, I'd really rather not hear from:

Britney Spears (I get the picture from the paparazzi)
Russell Shaw of ZDNet (I'll stick to his blog)
Kirstie Alley
Carrot Top
My immediate family
Jerry down the street
Loud carpet store owner trying to get attention

There was a modern artist who used to chronicle his waking time every day as a discrete daily creation (using a stencil or rubber stamp type of printing), and that was about it. In other words, he shared one intimate detail with the world, but left the rest out. (Does anyone know the name of the artist? I'm having trouble finding this.)

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