In my persuasion class this quarter we read a novel by Neil Postman called Amusing Ourselves to Death. It examines how television has shaped society and affected our outlook. The book was written in 1985. I won’t lie, when I realized this I was automatically uninterested in Postman’s message. I was annoyed that my class wasn’t focusing on up and coming trends or reading novels that explored the digital age of communication. Television felt like a topic of past.
It took me awhile to accept the fact I would be reading the book and writing a final report whether I wanted to or not. When I finally opened my mind to the ideas of Postman I was quite surprised. I was able to relate the book to my life and found some comparisons I had definitely not expected. Let me share one of my favorite passages from the book:
The telegraph is suited only to the flashing of messages, each to be quickly replaced by a more up-to-date message. Facts push other facts into and then out of consciousness at speeds that neither permit nor require evaluation.
The telegraph introduced a kind of public conversation whose form had starting characteristics: Its language was the language of headlines–sensational, fragmented, impersonal. News took the form of slogans, to be noted with excitement, to be forgotten with dispatch. Its language was also entirely discontinuous. One message had no connection to that which preceded or followed it. Each “headline” stood alone as its own context.
Wow…this was supposed to be a description of the telegraph? I could have sworn this was the bio written for everyone’s favorite micoblogging site, Twitter. My silly, little, undergrad mind was amazed. It feels like the modes of communication and technology change every day, but perhaps certain ideas change less than I think.
I’m in the middle of reading Chris Brogan’s book Trust Agents, and was able to pull some of his thoughts into my report. Two novels with connecting ideas and 25 years between them, I love that. I like making those connections, realizing the value of my education in my classes and seeing how I can apply it.
If you haven’t read Amusing Oursevles to Death, I recommend it. If you have read it, what did you think?
On twitter I am @openinggtndoors – (It stands for Opening Giant Doors FYI). I have mixed feelings on my handle choice. Many would advise when signing up for Twitter, to pick your name or something close to it (if yours is taken). When I created my account I didn’t think twice about it. Basically, I have been ‘openinggntdoors’ for as long as I’ve been online. It was my first email account when we got the internet at my house. It was also my first instant messenger (AIM) username and I still use it today. It’s part of my online personality.
I’ve been told a few times that I should reconsider using my name instead. I do understand the power of my name in building my personal brand but I also wonder if it’s the best choice for me.
Some reasons I like being @openinggntdoors:
- My name is not that easy to spell and it’s long. If you have a short easy to spell first and last name then yes, it would be smart to turn that into your handle. I don’t know if it would be an advantage to switch it. I would only be saving two characters by switching.
- If someone really wants to find me my Twitter handle shouldn’t matter. I have my name on my profile with a bio and website link. You can find my profile by Google or via Twitter search. Plus, there are no other Hannah DeMiltas around to compete with.
- Can’t I make any name famous one day? If followers are invested in who I am and the content I produce my choice of Twitter handle should be unimportant. There are definitely people who I would consider successful who don’t use their real name.
- It’s unique to me. I want to stand out and have a different style. I recently met Andrea (@aslesinski) for the first time in person. When I introduced myself she said “Oh my God, opening doors! I feel like I know you!” I like being opening doors and getting that type of reaction.
I don’t like being @openinggntdoors because it is too long and makes it harder for people to re-tweet me. I also think it appears unprofessional to some people. I mean, I did come up with it in middle school. A lot of people just don’t understand it or wonder what it means.
What is your opinion on this topic, do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment. If you make a good enough argument and maybe I’ll be @hannahdemilta by the end of the week.
UPDATE: Well that was short lived. I lasted about 1.5 hrs. Give me a follow @HannahDeMilta