“Space, the final frontier . . .” I loved those words spoken by the indomitable William Shatner at the beginning of every episode of Star Trek. Thinking about that classic line prompted the question, what is our final frontier? What is the space we travel in every day? Some of us every minute of everyday. The answer? Cyberspace, the Inter-nets, of course.
Having jumped right into the social media gravitational pull the past few weeks, I have found it is both an intimate conversation at a coffee shop and a shoot out at the OK corral. I can’t help but feel like some of the first settlers going west. Staking out their claim in that wild frontier.
Tweeting with a quasi regularity, I was struck with the feeling that I had been here before. Memories from my Rock n Roll days began to creep into my mind . . . A time long ago, when me and my best buddy and guitarist Vini would take to the streets late at night, band flyers and glue in hand, pasting up most of the east village one corner at a time. Trying not to, but invariably pasting our fliers over top another band’s fliers. Knowing full well by morning the same would have been done to ours. It was a decidedly low tech way to announce a show but in the early to mid 90’s it was just about all we had. Did it work? 99 percent of the time I’d have to say no.
Fast forward to present day, me sitting at my desk tweeting away, seeing my latest faux- important missive flash before my eyes, only to be replaced by another’s faux- importance, then another, and another and another . . . (you get the picture.) I find myself at times getting caught up in the information overload that is twitter. You can lose your Self if you’re not careful . . . “Damn it Jim I’m just a writer”
The thing that struck me almost immediately was the incredible potential to reach people on twitter. Band flyer analogies aside, Twitter can reach millions in seconds, and without glue stuck to your hands! That’s not to say it is an easy proposition. Riding that stage coach out west, into unchartered territory requires one to be flexible. Learning as you go.
There are rules on twitter, well, I suppose there are, but I think everyone has their own. There own code of conduct, so to speak. Some follow everyone that follows them; some have thousands of followers but follow very few; Some shamelessly promote; Some help you to promote; Some spam; Some are quite earnest and are there to learn from others in this endless sea of cyber humanity. Some combine all of the above into an information assault that would make the invasion of Normandy look tame in comparison.
At it’s core Twitter is an information conduit to the world. Information coursing through virtual human bios and beings, passed on, re-tweeted, only to be pasted over again and again and again. It is an endless Twitter machine that needs to be fed 24/7/ 365. It is everything and it is nothing. Beaming us up and out into the world 140 characters at a time. But no matter what your motivation, Twitter has a powerful potential to give back many times more than it gets. The only catch is, you have to figure out how to actualize that potential. The answer of course is different for every person. (That’s the real catch.)
So follow, and be followed. Let your voice bellow out into this final frontier which I am sure is only the beginning. Feed the machine and let it feed you.
Live long and prosper . . .