The dictionary is about to explode with new words, so let us be the first ones to break the bank. Toddlers are going to start tweeting their day-to-day thoughts on Twoddler, a version of Twitter specifically designed for infants. Forget about the Twitterati, say hello to the Twoddlerati.
Okay, that’s a lot to take in so let’s break it down. Twoddler is a modified version of a Fischer Price activity center that focuses on teaching young kids good communication skills. The game has pictures of family members and friends on it. When an infant plays with the game and presses one of the pictures for a certain amount of time, a sensor in the game posts “a predefined text related to that [picture].”
So, for example, if a father places a picture of himself on Twoddler, and his kid presses down on it long enough, it could trigger a message like “Timmy misses Daddy, come home now. And buy more milk.” That message will then be posted on the child’s personal Twitter account.
Twoddler has already been praised as an “inventive” communication tool, but it raises some common sense questions. Is teaching kids to tweet really the best way to help them communicate? If anything, Twitter disintegrates all language skills in adults, so how exactly is it going to help children? Of course, we understand that the real point is to give kids extra language tools, but frankly, we question whether this device even does that. The kid has no idea he is tweeting. All he knows is that he’s pushing a button. Daddy get’s to check Junior’s Twoddler page every now and then, but for all he knows the dog could be sitting on the machine.
More than anything, this seems like a new way for parents to procrastinate at work. Either that, or a first attempt at creating the Baby Translator pioneered in an episode of the Simpsons.
It may be some time before other social networking sites reach out to infants. As one writer noted in Time magazine, Facebook hates children.
But if we are to play devil’s advocate for a minute, there’s a certain logic to putting babies on Twitter. If you think about it, infants are the only ones who really have a good excuse to communicate the way most people do on Twitter, filled with grammatical and spelling errors and banal exclamations.
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