Miley Cyrus and The Tyranny of the Mundane

“The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.” 
― Michel de Montaigne

Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus twerk and tweet their ways into the record books at the 2013 VMAs.

Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus twerk and tweet their ways into the record books at the 2013 VMAs.

Tom often talks about how social media is just a digital extension of our existing behaviors. That got me thinking about the Miley Cyrus kerfuffle today and whether the fact that her record-breaking Video Music Awards performance is a sign of cultural decay and imminent doom. The record I am talking about is some 300,000+ tweets per minute of her lurid performance. While that is an astonishing number, is it really so out of the realm of reality?

I started thinking about what tweeting really is—not from a branding or content delivery standpoint, but from it’s original intent as a conduit for conversation. And conversation is the little bits of minutia that make up our day-to-day existence. Sometimes it’s bold, important moments and declarations, sometimes it’s what we had for lunch…or what we saw on TV that has us shaking our heads.

Think about what you talked to people about today. Was every statement dedicated to the most sobering, insightful or important topics of our time? How much was about Syria and how much was about sandwiches? Why then would we be surprised that the twittersphere—the digital extension of those mundane details—mimics the nonsense that makes up our days?

So don’t worry. All this talk of Miley and teddy bears and MTV is annoying and clogging up our social channels, but it’s probably not a sign of something bigger. It’s just a sign that we are just as shallow in the digital realm as we are in the physical world. Now go Google twerking and relax!

Hank and Marie are as gobsmacked as the rest of us.

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