‘Naked’ by Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean wrote a short piece for the New Yorker called Naked which compares Twitter to real life and I think she has a rather good point. I use Twitter almost as a second blog, posting interesting things about design, music and creative ideas. But I also use it to share tidbits of my life as well, what I’m eating, where I’m drinking and what movie I just saw. Is this entirely interesting all the time? Definitely not. But I do think her comparison is fair, that we oftentimes look at people we live around and wonder what their story is, getting but the briefest glimpses but putting together a story nonetheless.

“Life in Manhattan is like living inside a gigantic Twitter stream. What you get to know about people you don’t know simply by accidental adjacency is astonishing. For a few years, a guy who lived in the building across the street from me practiced piano every day in the nude. He had double-height windows in his apartment and had positioned the piano to take advantage of the nice western exposure, and would plop himself down every afternoon and begin his etudes wearing not one stitch of clothes. I had an unobstructed view of him from my living room. I wouldn’t have recognized him on the street and I didn’t know his name, but I knew him, or at least knew his body, and knew this odd habit of his. To put it in social-media terms, it was as if @weirdneighbor were tweeting, “I like playing piano in the nude. Whatever.” Because of the slant of the sun and the size of my windows, I don’t think he could see me, so our relationship, as it were, was less like Facebook, where the exchange is mutual, and more like Twitter: in other words, I was “following” him, but he wasn’t following me.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here. Also, the photo above is from Gail Albert Halaban’s Out My Window NYC series which exactly describes what Orlean is talking about. Be sure to check it out if you’re unfamiliar.


September 5, 2010