07 January 2009

Analogue Twitter project

I took December off from Twitter.

It was a combination of being creatively bored, in the mood for a project, and feeling too digitally transparent at the time. So until the first day of 2009, I wrote down my short thoughts instead, in the notebook I carry around with me.

3 December 2008, 9.12am

Now, obviously the two can't be compared. First of all, the obvious: analogue takes longer. You need to find two things in your bag (notebook and pen), and writing takes exponentially longer for me than typing. Secondly (also obvious), you don't have the instantaneous sharing with hundreds of people that you do with Twitter. Even though I knew I would eventually scan some of these and put them here, it definitely wasn't as satisfying, somehow.

11 December 2008, 10.21am

16 December 2008, 1.09pm

Here is the most interesting thing I discovered: the mode that my brain goes into when writing thoughts in a small book (as opposed typing) is a more private one (again, even though I knew I would be showing this to people). I have been documenting my life and thoughts since I was six, and when I was a wee Toky, that meant having diaries. With locks on them. Pen and paper used to be reserved for thoughts I didn't want anybody else to read. The moment I started typing those thoughts into Angelfire when I was 16, I typed knowing that there were people on the other end.

I never realized that my subconscious had those two behaviors divided so much. I noticed it when I told Faris about my experiment a few days into it, and then panicked a little when he took the notebook to read. I think the panic was a visceral reaction, though (associated with the construct in which I place the "writing down thoughts" behavior), because there was nothing too private in there. Nothing too private: the content would have all remained the same had I not taken this digital hiatus, though sometimes phrased in a way that I wouldn't exactly want to broadcast to the world. So I guess the mindset I'm in when documenting thoughts in each medium also influences how they come out.

5 December 2008, 3.53pm

One of the other reasons I did this was to see if I could live without that periodic sharing throughout the day. And I was able to do it, but only because I'm stubborn. It was really hard. A lot of the thoughts I had didn't get written down at all because they were things I wanted to say right that second. My compulsive nature will never go away, and losing that immediacy gratification just sucks. So, am I glad I did it? Yes. Would I do it again? Nah. I know now that there is a time and place for everything (or, every thought).

[You can read a few more of the scanned "tweets" here]
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