Here are excerpts from an article written by Roger Ebert. (A link to the full article is given below.)
“…We have an urgent need, whether innate or evolved, to communicate as quickly and easily as possible outside our own minds. We can only shout so loud. Then come drums, beacons, messengers, mirrors, flags, the telegraph, radio, television, computers, the internet, the web, and now the time of PDAs. In the earliest days of the web, people created personal web pages to extend themselves into cyberspace. Then web sites invited users to have web pages without knowing much about HTML. With the advent of cell phones, the Web came into our portable possession. Then came texting and its simplified offspring, Twitter. All of this involved the communication of information, otherwise known as Talking....
...What interests me is the sight of our grandchildren in the presence of other people who are actually there, glancing down at an iPhone cupped in their palms like gamblers checking their cash. Then texting with their hands under the surface of the dinner table, as if sliding an ace up a sleeve. Sometimes receiving a message as surprising as a Royal Flush. OMG!
...I thought at first this compulsion desire was centered in teenagers. Then I began to observe it among editors, lawyers, cops, waiters, sports fans, construction workers, people in restaurants, even people watching movies. During President Obama's recent address to a joint session of Congress, a good many members of his audience could be observed twittering. This is as childish as throwing paper airplanes in class....
Members of both parties were observed. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) twittered: "Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren't going to bother watching pelosi smirk for the next hour." A few minutes later his Twitter friends read: "Disregard that last Tweet from a staffer." How Barton, still sitting on the floor of Congress, pried the Blackberry from his staffer's cold, dead hands, I leave it for you to imagine....
...The point is that we are becoming a nation of twits. In the old days, when Mike Royko was stuck for a column subject, he'd call up the Chicago Daily News man at Police Headquarters or City Hall and ask what was happening. These days columnists seek to amaze us with their day's adventure on Twitter. OMG squared!
I will never become a Twit....I agree that many people find such sites useful. Cell phones have become an extension of the human ear. It is commonplace to find yourself standing next to people who are talking audibly, even loudly. They're hearing voices in their heads, but are not schizophrenic. What they are is elsewhere.
...Teenagers once were famous for shutting the bedroom door and talking with friends for hours on the phone. They still spend time on the phone, but some of them may spend more time texting. Instead of telling one friend "I think he's cool," they reach dozens: "Who thinks he's cool?" The answers twitter in. Me. Not me. No way. This is not conversation, but it is contact. I am here. I am me. We are joined in a web. We keep the matrix afloat. At 3 a.m.: Anybody awake? Me. Me too. Me too.
...The brain transmits tiny electrical signals. Eventually Twits will be able to twitter mentally, eliminating the Blackberry as a middle man. If a memory chip can one day be implanted in a human brain, a human could find himself occupying a new body. Where will the body be found? Why, at a clone farm, of course; they've already been invented in science fiction. Your body could be cloned and implanted with you, and you would be Benjamin Button now living toward the future.”
To read the whole article, The human race on a key ring by Roger Ebert, go here: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/03/the_human_race_on_a_key_ring.html#more