Stop the World


The truth is, I feel like yelling Stop quite a bit these days. Every time I hear about Twitter I want to yell Stop. The notion of sending and getting brief updates to and from dozens or thousands of people every few minutes is an image from information hell. I’m told that Twitter is a river into which I can dip my cup whenever I want. But that supposes we’re all kneeling on the banks. In fact, if you’re at all like me, you’re trying to keep your footing out in midstream, with the water level always dangerously close to your nostrils. Twitter sounds less like sipping than drowning.

The most frightening picture of the future that I’ve read thus far in the new decade has nothing to do with terrorism or banking or the world’s water reserves—it’s an article by David Carr, the Timess media critic, published on the decade’s first day, called “Why Twitter Will Endure.” “I’m in narrative on more things in a given moment than I ever thought possible,” Carr wrote. And: “Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people.” And: “The real value of the service is listening to a wired collective voice … the throbbing networked intelligence.” And: “On Twitter, you are your avatar and your avatar is you.” And finally: “There is always something more interesting on Twitter than whatever you happen to be working on.”

This last is what really worries me. Who doesn’t want to be taken out of the boredom or sameness or pain of the present at any given moment? That’s what drugs are for, and that’s why people become addicted to them. Carr himself was once a crack addict. Twitter is crack for media addicts. It scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.

~ George Packer, Stop the World



  1. People have priorities weighted differently…we all have our focus directed somewhere, be it in a healthy balance or not….habit or addiction? What cost do we pay in being immersed in the at times shallowness of others life down to the color of the socks they’re wearing….I take social media breaks often and book of face tells me in emails how much I am missing how many messages waiting, notifications, etc… I value stillness, thinking, being in nature and cultivating relationships, face to face or in writing back and forth….knowing who were are and what others value, teaches us a lot …for me it is a big world even-though for me I’ve had to live in the confines of a mostly, fairly small world this past year…for me I must experience life away from a screen…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ” Twitter is crack for media addicts” SO TRUE! I could Tweet that right now…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this piece. It is an addiction, and I have an addictive nature so all this social media stuff is enticing and dangerous all at the same time. I fretted about jumping into FB this year, but the saving Grace was making Real connections with a few people. So I think I’ll not do Twitter just so I can get Richard Armitage’s personal tweets. Sadly, that’s a connection that will never be Real.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Media addiction…a problem that is so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with my cousin George here!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The people I know who have addictions are simply wanting to avoid and suppress their deep pain. It’s hard to stop, as facing this is too hard for them. Since being at Fiji Anonymous, I have felt stronger …..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. George Packer wrote that in 2010. I wonder if he got that BlackBerry. Does anyone still carry Blackberries? They were called Crack berries, as I recall.

    Liked by 1 person

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