Thursday, 2 September 2010

Twitter economics: corset creates value

Commenting on The Spirituality of Social Media by Mark Schaefer, I found myself in immediate need of another blog post when I wrote
I see amazingly, astonishingly little verbal abuse on Twitter. The awesome strength of 140-character limitation forces us all to be sparingly with our words, and think very well about them
It is true for me: I never see angry, raging, hateful tweets. Maybe because of whom I'm following of course, but probably because a good flame usually occupies more than just 140 characters.
Did you ever get angry at someone IRL? I bet that took you more than just a few words and minutes before you even felt relieved, let alone finished. Could you have done all that with 140 characters, even excluding spaces? I doubt it

Mark's post is a wonderful post and a great read. He was writing a ranty post and decided to bin it when he got "distracted" (my words) by someone else's blog post, and wrote this one in stead - and for the better that was!

I think there's a relation between the limited space available and the quality of the tweets. Sure, there are tweets about lunch, sleep, and pretty much anything else not-so-very-interesting, but why focus on those? People are people and averages are averages and no technology is ever going to change that - hey wait

Just wait. This technology actually is changing us. Twitter enhances the quality of our tweets by limiting the available Space. The other variable in this equation of course is Time: it takes time to squeeze a remarkable thought into a good tweet.
I often Retweet tweets, even when just replying to a bunch of people. I have to leave the @-replied of course, then remove the rest, and type ahead. TweetDeck warns me of breaking the limit, and then: the trade-off begins. Which words do I leave, which do I take out? Which do I swap for a shorter synonym, which do I shorten as in shrtn? Squeeze, baby, squeeze!

The other way around there's a challenge as well: twooshing, also known as using exactly 140 characters. It's not a goal for me, but if I see I only have a few left and feel playful to begin with, I might put in the extra effort and make it a twoosh - just for fun. But, again, I'll have thought it over

How can we be so concise on Twitter, when needing all the verbal diarrhea we witness out there? I don't do politics nor religion but those sure use words, words, words, and even more words, words and words to make sure you're lost completely and only pay attention to the very last soundbite produced at the end. And both are the biggest politically correct influencers of our lives - which makes me sad.
Even those who figured out that the insititutionalisation of religion was something Jesus rebelled against 2,000 years ago already, are led astray by politics - and also divided

So, how does Twitter solve this? Two answers:
  1. People speak (for) themselves
  2. People feel (like) themselves
Weak ties? No, weak defenses. No need to walk around the Twitterverse heavily armed, alert and gung-ho like at an important business meeting or event, but you can just be yourself, any Self really that you’d like to try out.
A bio, a photo, the last dozen tweets: that’s your whole life and legacy right there for anyone who’s never met you.
And, having to rephrase your peer's thoughts or tweets by squeezing and cropping it a bit, trains your mind

Twitter's strength is in its restriction. May it never disappear

3 reacties:

markwilliamschaefer said...

Martijn, this is really a wonderful addition to the dialogue. Thank yo so much for this post!

Little Gods Author said...

Martijin (and Mark) - between the two of you, this is the most interesting & valuable conversation I have seen in weeks. Sharing everywhere - thanks to you both.

patrickbrinksma said...

This technology is the answer to our collective asking to connect more on a deeper level, as I wrote here:

And when you experience verbal abuse on Twitter (or other social media), it's because you have some in your current vibration, and you will attract it. The fact that you do not experience it, is because your dominant vibration is one of respect and appreciation.

On twitter less is more.

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