Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the tyranny: of twitter


True story: Since I started "tweeting", my blog output has sunk to an all-time low.  All Time Low, I tell you!

Yet during the same period my tweet-rate has increased.  Increased!  

Am I proud of this?  Buh no.

Do I think that tweeting has the same nutritive value as blogging?  Buh no.

And yet.  It offers a poke to the pleasure center of the brain that blogging does not - specifically, it focuses the mind to be expressive in 140 characters.  It's fast.  Oh, so very fast.  Hit the update button and shaZAMM, you've blurted 140 characters of erudition at all of your followers.

Instant gratification ho!  

Why wait for your loyal readers to wander by your blog and tediously shamble their way through your latest article when you can submit them to an episode of id gavage.

When I'm writing here, 140 characters doesn't buy you much.  I can't get out of bed in 140 characters.

And yet, I have been tweeting.  Quite a lot, at least by my standards.

And in the course of doing so I've learned two simple lessons: you can't create and sustain a narrative thread in 140 characters.  And it's really hard to establish a relationship with readers 140 characters at a time.

So here's the challenge.  In a world in which the tyranny of Twitter is compressing attention spans in inverse proportion to the volume of messages assaulting those newly-compressed attention spans, what can one do to adapt?

Well, we can settle for reducing complex concepts and thoughts into fortune cookie-length declarative statements, like "product managers must lead" and "it's important to be nice".

Or, we can agree that Twitter has its uses.  And like all good tools, it should be used for what it is good at.  Not more.

I look forward to sharing them with you here, even if I end up reducing complex concepts and thoughts into fortune cookie-length declarative sentences.  The difference is that over here, they're short by choice, not by design.

And I promise to use whatever "influence" I gain for good, not evil.  You're not so much followers as fellow travelers, and I value being on the road with you.


Chris said...

You forgot to SET RANT_ALERT=OFF!

I wonder what effect forcing all tweets to be written in haiku form would have on the number and quality of tweets? Would a likely lower number of tweets be matched by an increase in Twitter satori?

Michael Ray Hopkin said...

Bob, I agree - tweeting takes away time from blogging. When I focus on one I have less time for the other. However, my traffic on my blog has increased since I started using Twitter.

Time and focus...things I wish I had more of. -Michael

Camie Vog said...

Like I've said before, I take the rockstar approach to tweeting. You've witnessed it. I don't have the time to blog like I used too. Twitter does allow me to forge friendships, and face the reality...