RE: Twittering: Broadcasting the Inner Monologue

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

My most recent project team has used twitter to great effect (a topic for another post) and as such, I’ve been doing a bit of evangelizing. Telling the uninitiated about twitter inevitably leads to questions and doubts – i’ve been there myself – but really rachel and the rest of you, i know you wanna (twitter), or if not, i at least want you to understand that it’s not about you telling me about you feeding your cat. using rachel’s post as a framework, let me explain:

on quiet contemplation

If we have no internal thoughts that stay private, will we lose the skills to develop careful thought?

i suppose there’s two answers to this: 1) sharing ideas in one place shouldn’t preclude you from having big ideas in another, and 2) humans adapt and evolve over time. losing skills may only be creating room for other, new ones.

on conformance

I already find myself narrating my activities in a format compliant with Facebook status updates

The genius of Twitter is the 140 character limit, its format. Tweets are easily consumed, yet more than enough to convey a significant thought. Limits foster creativity. You want to ramble? Send me an email, just don’t expect me to read it.

on information overload

I already suffer from information overload

sounds like a personal problem. but the very nature of twitter, a circumscribed set of ideas from sources you select, should make the information you get from twitter more relevant, not less.

on replacement and responsibility

But I don’t want Twitter to take the place of personal communication, and I definitely don’t want to be held responsible for failing to diligently follow their exposed inner monologues.

What’s with the guilt? There’s no responsibility here. Twitter doesn’t track your “read” or “unread” posts. Take it as a compliment that someone wants you to read their posts. Obviously they think you have something to add. Twitter is not replacing your in person communications, it’s keeping those communications going while you’re apart.

on ideas

I wonder if it’s wise to subject my twitter subscribers to my every thought

Why should twitter be any different than any other form of communication? Share what you feel comfortable with. Use restraint, but don’t be constrained. Twitter is a brainstorm, a constant conversation, a hivemind. There are only ideas. What’s bad to you, may quite well be good to me. Sharing your thoughts is exactly the point. As Steve Gillmor says, it’s transparent IM. Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? Now you can. Follow, track, or block anyone you like. Add an idea, take one away. Leave for a while and have your big thoughts. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.