Sunday, March 29, 2009

Writing in Twitterese - a blog post in 17 tweets

I'm trying an experiment: writing a blog post composed of 140 character paragraphs (or less) to see if Twitter supports longer-form thoughts.

I'm checking each paragraph in Twitter - to make sure it doesn't exceed the limit. And, I'm trying to adhere to CP style too. Here goes:

Lately, there's been much ado about Twitter in mainstream media. It feels like you can't open a newspaper without reading about it.

This week alone, the Globe and Mail had stories by Sarah Hampson, Margaret Wente and Ian Brown.

So what does it mean? I think it shows that yet another social media platform has hit a tipping point and is gaining wider acceptance.

In all cases, the journalists seemed both intrigued and reluctant. And they questioned Twitter's usefulness for real human interactions.

As one of the formerly reluctant, I can empathize. It took me months to begin to understand why it's such a powerful communications tool.

I think my biggest obstacle was the randomness and messy nature of the medium. It really is an endless stream of consciousness.

Think party line with a few too many conversations going on at once. Noisy? Absolutely. Trivial? Sure. But there's an amazing energy too.

I like Twitter a lot. For me, it's the people I'm following, the shared ideas, immediacy- personal and professional 'news' in real time.

Perhaps it's about our innate desire to connect with others. Its instantaneous nature is a relationship spark.

But it can be a diversion as you immerse yourself in the never ending flow; the 'bursts of being'. And forget how fast time rushes on...

And that's the trade off. The choice each individual needs to make. How much time on Twitter (if any) is too much?

I'm still figuring that one out. Stay tuned.

Note: That was harder than I thought. I felt constrained by the format and the act of looking for smaller words that would fit the space.

My writing seemed staccato. Maybe because this is a monologue and Twitter needs a response to bring it to life.

Conclusion: it's not easy to write a full blog post in Twitterese. The one-sidedness of the voice lacks one of Twitter's essentials: flow.


tamera kremer said...

Very well done Martin! Although I can completely understand the limitations of trying to fit anything complex into 140-character sound bites... I often find myself saying "I just need to blog this" after getting into discussions with folks on Twitter.

Martin Waxman said...

Thanks Tamera. While this may not have turned out exactly as I'd imagined, there's something to be said for brevity.

prvoyageur said...

Very creative Martin. It has a nice flow to it. A little poetic, I'd say.
As a Twitterookie, I'm still trying to decided what I want out of it and how much time I'm willing to spend. Certainly focusing more on it than my blog at the moment. But, like you, enjoying the dialogue and connections - as messy as they are.