Twitter Makes Us Second Guess Our Own Decisions

I am frequently tempted to throw questions out into the Twitterverse. Whether it's a poll on whether or not the movie I'm thinking of seeing is worth the ticket price; a gut-check on what kind of holiday present would be most appreciated by a kindergarten teacher; or deeper soul-searching issues like who looks like he'd be better in bed, Jax Teller or Eric Northman; there's something magical about typing a question into a box and having 20+ answers five minutes later.

The problem, of course, is that 20 different answers from 20 different people sometimes isn't helpful at all. Sometimes, it's just plain confusing -- especially when what you're secretly searching for is a no-brainer way to make a tough decision.

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Okay, so when I'm talking about tough decisions, I'm not talking about judging the lovemaking prowess of fictional television characters (although Eric is clearly the right answer because hello: stamina), I'm talking about real decisions that actually affect your life in some way.

Take being a new mom, for instance. While I'm sure I would have enjoyed the company back when I was a frazzled postpartum mess after my sons were born, I am so incredibly glad I didn't have Twitter. I see first-time moms on Twitter all the time now and it seems like every other tweet they share is a slightly panicked question: Is this normal? What should I do about that? Do ALL babies do this?


To be sure, there's something immensely reassuring about a bunch of friendly people saying, in unison, "YES! THAT'S TOTALLY NORMAL! MY BABY DID THAT ALL THE TIME AND IT SUCKED!" ... but a crowd-sourced answer to how to deal with whatever problem is on hand will almost never result in consensus.


It's the same with everything, really. Is this movie worth seeing? Well, depends on who you're asking and their taste in movies. Is this price reasonable? Depends on where someone lives and their personal budget and attitudes towards spending. Is this worth getting checked out by a doctor? OH MY GOD NEVER ASK TWITTER THIS.


I derive a lot of entertainment and a certain amount of comfort from Twitter, particularly since I started working from home and my weekday adult interaction dwindled to nearly zero. I love chatting with people I know, I love reading everyday comments and jokes from people I don't know.


I wonder, though, if being connected by a social network can start to erode faith in our own decisions. People talk about the phenomenon of feeling like a moment isn't "real" unless it's shared -- do you think it's possible that personal choices can start to experience the same deleterious effect? That we can find ourselves looking for black-and-white answers to a gray world, and the mixed responses only confuse us further?


I don't know, I'm mostly just throwing this out there to
see what you think. In other words, I'm totally asking a question and hoping that a bunch of people tell me the right answer. (I think Alanis sang about this once.)



Image via Twitter

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