I was checking out ExecTweets, a new service by Federated Media and Microsoft that allows Twitter users to easily find and follow prominent business figures' TweetStreams. Why would one want to do that? When I look at who I follow on Twitter, it's mostly people I know and a few I don't but whose tweets I find either funny or interesting. Twitter is very useful as a "status update" tool. But I find efforts to say more through Twitter a bit forced.
Then I looked at sample tweets from the executives ExecTweets offers:
"When a door of happiness closes, another opens. Often we look at the
closed door, we do not see the one that’s been opened." – Helen Keller
All times are times of uncertainty. We just notice it sometimes more
than others because something big shakes us from our complacency.
To me, it looks like the executive tweeters are broadcasting their thoughts and ideas in 140-character long bites. Or, trying to… Is this a usable format, or are we squeezing the ideas into the constraints of a soon-to-be obselete technology, the SMS? Paul Graham broadcasts his ideas in thoughtful, edited essays. Could I follow Paul Graham on twitter and understand his ideas? I very much doubt it.
But quotes play an important role in communications. They package ideas into more-easily-transportable packages. The top quote sites enjoy (surprising to me) very high traffic numbers.
I wonder how the idea quality is effected by these new forms of packaging?
3 thoughts on “In Need of Quotes and Easy-to-Swallow Bits of Wisdom”
Neat concept. I like the idea of tightly packed information. Clearly, 140 char tweets can only convey so much, but used effectively, I think the constraint forces some rather brilliant, concise bits of wisdom to emerge from certain people from time to time.
I liken it to poetry vs. prose. There’s a lot of bad poetry out there – but the good stuff? Highly memorable and, as you said, portable.
As a poet and a writer, I have to agree with Joe on the idea of constraints. Restrictions, parameters, forces of limitation: all of these require us to do what we as humans do best: problem solve. Like that lovely cliché, “necessity breeds invention”: when confronted with an obstacle, a constraint, we invent. And we could say the constraint of 140 characters is as arbitrary as are the rules for writing Haiku. Yet the latter remains popular, fruitful, and (when done well) enlightening–after centuries. Does it replace the novel or the essay? No, it cannot serve the same function. Likewise, no novel can approach what Basho could in three short lines.
I suppose what I’m suggesting, really, is that like all hip content these days, it’s generated by the user, and it’s the user who determines quality. Just as I’m a better poet than I am a blogger or tweeter, there’ll be people who’ll bring the best out of the 140 character form. And I think, what’ll continue to define the life cycle of the technology won’t be whether there is portability or not, but rather whether Twitter or its confederates (like ExecTweets) enhance our ability to find those who, shall we say, Tweet with the Gods. Seems like these days there are plenty of worthy practitioners in every medium, but the media which survives does so on the basis that it’s deliverable to the right audiences, at the right time.
Tweeting with Gods: Tweets as Haiku
Jeremy commented on my recent post and I thought I should elevate it to this blog’s surface: As a poet and a writer, I have to agree with Joe on the idea of constraints. Restrictions, parameters, forces of limitation: all…