We’ve become a nation of Tweeters. We update the world on our every move in 140 characters or less. Welcome to the Twitter Nation.
April 15, 2009. That marks the day I officially became a tweeter. Originally, I joined because I wanted another gimmick to get readers to my site. You see, the folks at wordpress understood the draw, and gave us bloggers the ability to add our twitter updates to a side bar on our pages. Just look to your right at the “all-a-twitter” box to see for yourself. I thought it would be a nifty way for people to find something new on my site even if I hadn’t updated a full blog post yet.
The problem? I began ignoring my blog and got sucked into instant twits. The attraction is strong, you see. I can update my facebook status, my blog sidebar, and my twitter account, all with one simple text message from my cell phone, and in less than 30 seconds usually. Writing a decent blog entry from start to publish takes me at least 120 thirty-second intervals. That’s a lot of tweets.
The other problem is that I’ve found I’m losing my ability to write anything decent in longer than 140 characters. I start running into problems after the first paragraph, then get all flustered and end up trashing the entire idea. It’s like the worst case of creative block ever. And I’m not the only one having this problem, all thanks to twitter. John Mayer is a tweeter I follow, and he mentioned it’s actually affecting his ability to write songs. He publicly stated in a recent tweet that he’s now making an effort to cut back on his updates; to which I sorely miss, as his tweets are always entertaining. (Check him out at twitter.com/johncmayer)
Perhaps it’s becoming an international paradigm shift. But if this is true, twitter is not completely to blame. It’s the internet in general. Since the invention of comment threads to articles, discussion forums and social networking (yes, beloved facebook included), people have slowly been shortening their thoughts into smaller and smaller constructs. Looking back, my most visceral writing cannot be found within this blog, but rather splattered upon the pages of journals that I’ve kept over the years. Sadly, I haven’t touched my journal since early summer of 2008 when I apologized to it for my lack of attention due to the seduction of the blogging world.
What’s worse, any self-respecting, non-pseudonym-using blogger can tell you most of what you read is quite censored. We have to keep in mind that people we actually care about read these things, such as our mothers, friends, boyfriends (including here the ex- and potential- ones), maybe even our employers or coworkers. Names are removed, our raw internal reactions to real life interactions are toned down, our deepest desires remain masked by fancy verbiage, and all in all a less than honest interpretation of reality. We have to be careful what we put out there for the entire world to read. And trust me, that takes a bit of work and couth.
So maybe thats why people like twitter so much- its like mobile blogging, only easier. How many people can you piss off in so few words? (Note: that is not a dare folks, I’m sure you can piss off a lot of people in a few words. Just ask Perez Hilton- twitter.com/perezhilton). But it seems like the norm has become “if you can’t say it in less than 140 characters, it ain’t worth saying”. One fellow tweeter, who has recently gained some notoriety for his ability, actually writes entire stories within those character limits (see for yourself at twitter.com/astoryin140).
Even now I’m finding it difficult to put together an entire blog post. My mind keeps thinking of a few short sentences that sound really great; filling the spaces between is what’s causing me some trouble. Maybe I should just acquiesce and simmer this entire post down to 140 characters:
I blame twitter for stifling creativity & keeping us from expressing any stimulating thought unless it fits within 140 chars. Go articulate!
One hundred forty exactly, peoples. That’s sad.