Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twitter: timing is everything...?

The majority of my clients and colleagues are using it, but I have not uttered the word until now: TWITTER. I was convinced to break my silence when I saw Time magazine: "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live."

Here is my version of Time's story: Twitter does to texting what blogging did to email.

So let's get to the root of the matter: Texting. John Cassidy says it better than I can in the October 2008 New Yorker, "Thumbspeak: Is Texting Here to Stay?" Summary of Cassidy: We may be helplessly addicted to crackberries etc, but we are not addicted to typing words with numeric keypads. As soon as we all have QWERTY in our palms, we will then do away with the 140-character barrier and, with that, all the quirks that make txt msgs distinct from emails will quickly die a natural death.

If texting becomes indistinguishable from emailing (grant me that hypothetical just for a moment) how then will Tweeting differ from blogging? I am curious.

[The editor pauses... almost publishes the post... then takes a phone call from a colleague with more Twitter stories. A change of heart occurs.]

No, wait, I have glossed over something fundamental: Timing. Words have rhythm. Even if my version of the Twitter story is technically true (which I think it is), it misses the whole timing thing. That is a big deal, experientially if not technically.

Comments, anyone?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License and is copyrighted (c) 2009 by Connective Associates LLC except where otherwise noted.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I like Will Leitch's definition of Twitter as "the world's greatest RSS feed" in the first part of his Deadspin article here: http://bit.ly/UOuPu

I use twitter in much the same way -- following subject matter experts of topics that I'm interested in as well as keeping up with my friends and their lives. It's a quick read on TweetDeck either at home or on my phone, and it's more efficient than logging into both facebook and Google Reader.

Hope things are still going well for you at BU, Bruce. I still think back to my CS103 course in 2006 as one of my favorite courses at BU.

Paul Toms (BU '06)
p.b.toms {at} gmail {dot} com