A passing thought on Twitter
The Kansas City Star
After complaining about the dehumanizing effects of social media in posts such as this one, I finally threw in the towel and joined the Twitterverse (or is it Twittersphere?). As a professor/writer/politics junkie, it has become a professional necessity. But a few days after joining the social networking site, I already feel the seductive allure of “following” people and being “followed.” Twitter amplifies our desire to be a part of what C.S. Lewis referred to as the Inner Ring. In a 1944 address to a group of college students, Lewis contended that the desire to be liked by others, to be admitted to an allusive inner circle, to be “in the know” and to feel important, was one of the “permanent mainsprings of human action” – and quite possibly the passion that would lead us to moral ruin. Lewis’s antidote to “the quest of the Inner Ring” was true friendship, and his conclusion is worth quoting at length:
If in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the centre of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that the secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it.
So follow me on Twitter. Or don’t. Whatever.