I didn't realize I've been unsuccessfully talking about something like 10Centuries with my parents for so long. While digging through some of my older Tweets1, I happened across this reference from August of 2009 where I mentioned my desire to put my grandfather's diaries online, only to have the suggestion rebuffed by my father.
Six years ago today I thought Twitter was going to be a short-lived fad, and I was wrong1. In the very same post I said that YouTube was never going to amount to anything, and I was wrong about that, too. Heck, looking at a lot of the posts that exist on this site I can see that I am wrong about Internet technologies far more often than I am right, so what makes me think that I can create my own service allowing people to store their ramblings for a thousand years or more? This question keeps me up more nights than one might imagine.
With the second anniversary of Japan's Great Tohoku Earthquake less than a week away I've been working out some ideas for how to mark the occasion. Two years is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, and people are still suffering from the events of that day. Many of us, however, have moved on and forged onwards in the endless cycle that is consumerist living. When I think back to that mid-March day, though, I'm reminded of the importance Twitter played for millions of people as well as the web service that my employer at the time had made available. A tool that I was ultimately responsible for keeping online.
It's interesting how seriously people take Twitter sometimes. Although it's been proven to be an invaluable tool when spreading information about something incredibly important, it's also a cesspool of differing opinions and poorly-expressed ideas that invite criticism from people who had nothing to do with the original conversation. Case in point is this classic example of someone coming in too late to a conversation to add anything useful, who likely wouldn't have added anything useful to begin with.
With any crisis or tragedy we see a number of things online. Angry people, solemn prayers, and an endless stream of information (and misinformation) all over the web. When the initial brunt of the crisis passes we see a number of people try to cash in on a fleeting sense of popularity by going on Twitter and promising to donate a certain amount of money for every Retweet a single message receives. This isn't anything new, as we've seen it for years in other formats. I hate these sorts of popularity games. I despise them. If a person is willing to give $20,000 to a worthy cause, then give the twenty grand. Don't turn it into an opportunity to gain followers.