Buzz, Hysteria, Hype and Social Networking

It’s possi­ble you may have heard that Google launched a new service, Google Buzz, recently. In fact by now the odds are that you’ve read a mini­mum of a couple of dozen arti­cles and opin­ions on what Google did wrong. Nega­tive sells better than posi­tive.

It’s certainly not a new phenom­e­non. People have been complain­ing about the media’s tendency to over-hype and over-react to every bit of news they report on. With the advent of blogs that annoy­ing habit rapidly spread to every­one else who felt the need to share their opin­ion.

But the advent of social network­ing seems to have esca­lated this prob­lem. Now people have to make judge­ments quicker than ever before and in order to get atten­tion, to get a reac­tion, they have to couch them in ever more extreme terms.

This constant upping of language inten­sity numbs the audi­ence and deval­ues both the previ­ously perfectly adequate words and the words we are now using in their place. It’s no longer suffi­cient to say that Google showed poor judge­ment. Now we have to call them evil. So if Google are evil, does that mean we’re plac­ing them on the level of murder­ers?

The English language contains over a quar­ter of a million words. With that level of subtlety at our finger­tips why do we imme­di­ately reach for a sledge­ham­mer?

This linguis­tic lazi­ness is made even worse by the speed of reac­tion on the inter­net. Because not only does the orig­i­na­tor of the post have to make a snap judge­ment, appar­ently so does every­one who reads it.

But if all anyone does is scream at the top of their voice and repeat the same hand­ful phrases that they just, there’s no value in the medium. You’d get as much insight by stand­ing in the middle of a train station and listen­ing to frag­ments of conver­sa­tion from the people pass­ing by.

So what’s the point of this little screed of mine? Think before you post. Life isn’t binary and nor is language. Use the textures and shad­ing that language provides to show the complex­ity of the subject you’re discussing.

It can be done. Even in 140 char­ac­ters.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of eoghann.com. You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?