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Teen columnist: Information age gives too much

"Never in my life have I wondered, ‘Gee, what is Britney Spears doing right this very moment?' "

"Never in my life have I wondered, ‘Gee, what is Britney Spears doing right this very moment?' "

In an effort to understand what all the fuss is about, I made myself a Twitter account. And I’m still a little unclear.

Upon creating an account, the site goes into your e-mail contacts and pulls out any friends with Twitter accounts. I had three, since people my age only communicate via e-mail if they are speaking with adults.

I declined the option to “follow” any of them and was then brought to a page of people that Twitter suggested I follow. Among the choices were Whole Foods (yes, the grocery store), “Entertainment Tonight,” John Mayer and countless people and causes I had never heard of.

I selected all and pressed continue, and here’s where the confusion kicked in.

Never in my life have I wondered, “Gee, what is Britney Spears doing right this very moment?” But now, lo and behold, “Britney and her sons’ nanny, Lourdes, planted these flowers in the courtyard of Britney’s house on Tuesday.”

My senses are on overload – and not in a good way. The whole site is a page filled with one-line updates about the whereabouts, thoughts and feelings of everyone I subscribed to.

“Entertainment Tonight” posts a link to a review of Beyoncé’s new movie, “Obsessed.” If I wanted to read a movie review, wouldn’t I seek out that information on my own? If I wanted to see John Mayer’s upcoming tour dates, couldn’t I check out his fan site?

It’s easy to see how one could waste away in front of sites like Twitter: You don’t know what you want to know until you know it. And there is no way of keeping up – in the five minutes I’m sitting on the site, there have been 14 new Twitterings, or whatever.

The desire to stay constantly connected with your friends is something I understand. I love looking through my friends’ photo albums after prom and checking in on status updates after a school dodge ball tournament. (A status update is essentially the equivalent of Twitter, except it’s only a tiny facet of the Facebook world and only friends’ updates are known to you. They also are not spamming your cell every five seconds.)

I do not, however, understand the desire to stay constantly connected with the entire world. I do not give one whit if a man in Massachusetts has a dog the same breed as mine whose name is also Zelda. I have never had the urge to enter a chat room and talk with strangers about my latest knitting project. I have friends for that! Real people!

And regardless of whether you are using things like Twitter and Facebook to stay connected to real people or not, there’s something very narcissistic about it. The entire concept is based on the assumption that everybody cares about your constant whereabouts, thoughts and feelings, and that they would like to have constant access to them.

I don’t care that the girl who sits behind me in English has “finally decided that Arrowhead is waaayyy better than Dasani”; I’m assuming she feels the same way about me.

While the idea of staying connected is a nice sentiment, I find the constant tidal wave of information to be overwhelming and, honestly, quite tedious.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a shower, have a cup of tea, get started on some history homework, and watch a marathon of “Scrubs.”

Leigh Jensen is a sophomore at Canyon del Oro High School. E-mail: leighajensen@gmail.com



Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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