I turned 35 the other day. I say this not to elicit a flurry of warm wishes and virtual presents, but simply to explain why I have been in something of a reflective mood. I know it’s fashionable to push it out a bit these days, but for me 35 has always been officially middle-aged. The average life expectancy for a male in New Zealand is a bit over 75 years, but it’s lower for Maori, and since I’m about 1/8th or something, I round it down a bit. Plus I smoke, drink more than I should (yeah I know I wrote about this last year, having given them both up – it didn’t take), and for the past decade have secretly been having an affair with streaky bacon.
Ageing. There’s nothing quite like it. I’ve hardly gone to pack, but the signs are definitely there. The memory’s not as flash as it once was, which isn’t saying much. There’s usually something that aches or won’t work as it should. I start to wonder how long I can wear trainers before they stop looking ‘yoof’, and start looking like the old guy at the rest home shuffling past in his New Balances.
But to me the most obvious sign I’m Not Getting Any Younger is that increasingly, I just don’t get stuff. And the best example of that right now, is Twitter.
Not Getting Stuff Because You’re Old works like this. First of all, you don’t hear of it until heaps of other people already know what it is. Then, once you’ve heard about it, you don’t really know what it is until heaps of other people are already doing it. Then, once you work out what it is, you can’t figure out for the life of you why anyone would bother.
When we’d all been blogging here for a couple of years, I started working at TVNZ. I remember a number of the older journalists coming up and saying “so these blogs, what are they all about?” and “do you think we should do a story about blogging?” By this stage blogging was old hat to many of us – and at work we were using blogs as tools, for researching, getting opinions, ideas. The idea of reporting on the medium made as much sense as doing a story on ‘radio’ as a concept: “Yeah it’s great, you sort of have this box, and you twiddle with the knobs a bit until voices talk to you.”
So I’m at the point now where I sort of understand how it works. It’s just like the status line in Facebook, right? “Damian is having a slow start to Monday.”
Some of my friends got on the Not Getting Stuff train at Facebook station. No amount of “but you don’t have to let people see your private shit” and “it’s actually really useful for sharing photos and invites” would convince them. And yeah, when you’re on Facebook, updating your status is one way to procrastinate for another few seconds before getting back to work. But I don’t do it more than every few days, and in-and-of-itself I don’t think it’s particularly interesting.
Okay. So while I've been writing this, I’ve signed up to Twitter. I’m scared that if I don’t get it there and bags “damianchristie” right now, come 2014, when Prime Minister Collins pushes through the Twitter Registration (Let’s Not Have a Repeat of the Lockwood Incident) Act is passed and it becomes compulsory for everyone to have accounts we can be tracked, I’ll end up with dschristi347 or something similarly wack, and that's now how I roll.
Looking at the twitter friends I have been automatically assigned via my contacts list, I see that one is thinking of buying a new computer; another is annoyed at delays in outsourcing; while another is annoyed at the delays in his online supermarket shopping. Britney Spears apparently had a great dinner with her dancers. I take it all back…
Damian Christie is writing a blog about twitter. How circular.