When you start thinking in ‘tweets’ is it time to worry?
When I was 14 years old I took part in a fairly typical school exchange trip, staying with Carola Herman and her lovely family in a small town just outside Frankfurt, Germany. I was three years into learning to speak German at the time, but a couple of hours a week at school and no previous exposure to native German-speakers meant that my language skills weren’t up to much. I stumbled my way through the week able to understand much of what they said to me, but struggling to communicate back. So focussed on trying to speak the lingo, a few days into the trip I found myself unable to think in English. If I couldn’t think what I wanted to think in German, I couldn’t think at all. A very frustrating and bizarre experience.
There’s something about immersing yourself in a culture with such vigor that means you inevitably end up thinking in terms of that culture too. And so, as I was driving along this morning and thinking about the day ahead, I realised that I was thinking in ‘tweets’ – that is to say, every one of my thoughts had to be 140 characters or less, or I would be thinking about how I would communicate this or that on Twitter. At regular Friday afternoon pub sessions with friends we’ve also giggled to ourselves about how you stop thinking about people with their real names and start thinking about them and referring to them as their Twitter alias instead. Even my fiance is at times no longer Nathan, but instead @NZMorris. I think there should be a medical name for this condition – twitteritis?