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Cybernaut

Brevity is wit, sometimes

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The latest in a long list of Internet sensations is a cantankerous 73-year-old man, as quoted by his 28-year-old son Justin - who evidently still lives with his parents and doesn't pay rent. You can find it, obviously, on Twitter where all the cool kids are hanging out these days; just look up Shitmydadsays and get ready to laugh. I've even subscribed to the RSS feed.

The first collected quote - there are about 30 so far - is "I didn't live to be 73 years old so I could eat kale. Don't fix me your breakfast and pretend you're fixing mine." My favourite is "How the fuck should I know if it's still good? Eat it. You get sick, it wasn't good. You people, you think I got microscopic fucking eyes."

As of Aug. 27 this Tweet had 111,000 subscribers. As of Aug. 28 there were 156,000. That's how quickly these things go viral.

I still haven't bothered with Twitter (www.twitter.com) because I haven't really seen the point - very few of my friends are on it, and I could care less what various celebrities are up to. More examples like Shitmydadsays could change my mind about that, but that's the whole trouble with a democratic web - there's so much material out there and so little of it is actually good enough to be worth the time you're wasting.

Enter a slightly different variation of the Twitter phenomenon called Woofer. Unlike Twitter, where a message is limited to 140 characters, Woofer (www.woofertime.com) won't publish any message under 1,400 characters - about one third the length of this page.

The thinking behind Woofer is that 140 characters is too few to write any tweets of substance, that Twitter has created this paradigm where people write pointless soundbites about themselves in attempt to create meaning and a sense of place in a world that's clearly moving too fast. At least that's how I see it.

Woofer, by contrast, is supposed to make people think more about the things they write and post. If you're going to take the time to write something hundreds of words long then those words should ultimately be more meaningful. In theory at least.

Instead, Woofer users are mostly posting long quotes, pieces of articles, and diary entries, etc. but most are from people brought up on texting who look on writing 1,400 characters as a challenge.

Is there any point to Woofer? Was there any point to Tweeter?

I wonder what a certain 73-year-old man would have to say about that.

Caution: Snow Leopard

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