Chuck was a jerk. But also a friend. And Twitter remains the only connection to his memory

Twitter FINAL
Chuck was kind of a jerk.

I said hello. He, clearly stoned, did not offer any of the expected pleasantries of modern society.

But in this situation, he was the guest in this group of friends. So, begrudgingly, he made a small effort towards reconciliation.

Can I play his javascript game? The physics were terrible.

Eventually, that man became a close friend.

One day, while walking into my apartment unannounced as he was want to do, eyes glued to his phone, Chuck told everyone to “check this shit out”.

It was fall 2007 and I fell in love instantly.

Limited to 140 characters, anyone could share their thoughts — but only briefly — and links to interesting stories were flying at warp speed. If the morning newspaper was my gateway drug, Twitter was my heroine.

Sadly, just last night, the headlines read “Twitter lays of hundreds in better than expected quarterly earnings”. If laying of hundreds of people can be twisted positively, it goes to show how far expectations have plummeted.

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As Twitter is fights for its life, it gets me thinking of Chuck.

The asshole to my gentleman. The sprinkle of jerk on an often hypersensitive, overly cautious young man. Every emotional person needs a crass friend, just like every boorish lout needs a delicate spirit.

But Chuck was also a sad chapter in a year-long tragedy that has come to define my personhood. A black eye of self-doubt, grief and regret.

This melancholy is why Twitter is important, and why mine is a personal story, but one that is universal across the world.

The word ‘Friendster’, might create heartache for that first lover. The one who once was everything, and now only exists in the occasional dream.

The word ‘Myspace’ might elicits thoughts of late nights, listening to music, smoking stolen cigarettes while reading about a friend’s greatest fears.

‘Blog’ is the inspiration that has set many people down surprising paths. ‘MSN Messenger’ evokes memories of experimental flirting with a crush, who flirts back; both sides knowing the other is taken.

Even ‘Facebook’, which is now a glorified networking session, was once a moment of “Wow”. When an email and password would reveal the future, and everyone was just waiting for the rest of the world to join.

The point is, this is how tech impacts people and changes lives. It creates emotions, stirs memories and tickles the senses.

“Tech can change the world” is a platitude; a phrase that sounds nice, but upon closer examination means nothing at all.

How tech actually impacts people is how Twitter impacts me. An emotional attachment completely devoid of UX, product updates or user numbers.

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Because of this, I hope Twitter dies, and then is revived, and then gets bought, then the deal falls through, only to be saved by a white knight investor who then tanks the company.

The reason? Because every time I read about Twitter I think of a young man, who was balding too young, always in dark clothes, walking through my apartment like he owned the place, playing on his phone, being kind of a dick.

If Twitter actually shuts down, so goes my connection to my friend.

And I miss Chuck.

Copyright: inbj / 123RF Stock Photo

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