One clear sign that you're getting older is if you would rather watch a movie on TV that you've seen a dozen times before than take a chance on some recent film you've never seen.
"Let's see what's on… hmm, 'Revolutionary Road,' that's supposed to be pretty good… what else… 'Atonement,' haven't seen that one, maybe I'll watch a little bit of- ooh, hold the phones! We have a winner - 'Weekend At Bernie's' is on!"
Another common sign that the years are creeping up on you is if you no longer share in the excitement over the latest high tech gizmo or internet marvel to come along. For me, there's no most glaring example of my rapidly approaching fuddyduddy-hood than my skepticism about Twitter.
If you're unfamiliar with Twitter, it's a wildly popular social networking platform that has probably already passed you by, so I won't bother trying to explain it. Because realistically, at this point either you're already on the Twitter bandwagon, eagerly 'tweeting" out a steady stream of inspiration, 140 characters at a time, or you've decided to sit this fad out, perhaps while on your sofa watching "Weekend at Bernie's" (again).
Mind you, I'm not one of those curmudgeons who doggedly clings only to traditional, long-standing means of communication that have proven their worth over the generations, like email. I love Facebook, for example, without which I would never have reconnected with dozens of high school friends and been regularly informed whenever they are getting out of bed, arriving at work, at work, going to lunch, eating lunch, getting ready to leave work, actually leaving work, relaxing at home, getting ready for bed or getting into bed, and have thoughtfully taken a moment away from these critical activities to share the information with their Facebook friends.
Another plus that Facebook offers users is a range of quality time-wasting applications, like the quizzes that determine which intestinal parasite, brand of toilet bowl cleanser or secondary TV sitcom character you most resemble ("Potsie? No way - I'm so much more of a Schneider. This thing is way off").
Compared to Facebook, Twitter does offer the advantage of simplicity. According to the company, each short message users post is supposed to answer the question, "What are you doing?" Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer to that question appears to be, "Not much." One study of the site's content divided all Twitter messages into six categories, and determined that the largest segment of Tweets (40 percent) consisted of "pointless babble." Which no doubt explains Twitter's popularity among Congressional representatives.
I think this also helps explain my reluctance to embrace Twitter. I just can't believe that a bunch of people who don't even know me would care to receive regular updates on my activities. I have a difficult enough time just getting my wife and children to listen when I tell them what I'm up to, even when it's something really important like making a blockbuster trade for Peyton Manning on my fantasy football team.
Speaking of which, athletes and other celebrity users have helped drive much of Twitter's growth. Because if there's one thing our society desperately needs, it's more information about the lives of famous people. But who wouldn't want to receive regular messages from the likes of Shaquille O'Neal (2.4 million followers), when he's broadcasting such must-be-expressed thoughts as "let's go Steelers let's go," (October 4th) "what shud i be for halloween?" (September 30th) and, of course, the inspired if cryptic "Booyaaaaa" (September 19th).
Some cynics might detect an undertone of jealousy behind all my Twitter naysaying. And sure, I admit it might be nice to have millions of followers hanging on my every, um, tweet. But what ever happened to quality over quantity? I'm proud of the nearly two dozen folks who've signed up to receive the incredibly witty asides I occasionally post to www.twitter.com/cultureshlock, even if half of them are young women I've never met who are only "following" me to promote their personal webcams. Let no one say that I'm the type of small-minded person who will refuse to join in a social networking relationship with someone just because she happens to be a nubile college coed who enjoys parading around in her underwear.
So perhaps, in an effort to stay "with it," I'll keep at this Twitter thing. That and stop using expressions like "with it." After all, as my readers frequently point out, I do have a tremendous capacity for producing "pointless blather." And who knows, with patience, I might tap into enough self-absorption to believe that people want to hear about the mundane details of my life. Like that right now I'm turning on the TV to watch - you guessed it - "Weekend At Bernie's II!"