Sometimes a tweet is just the right length for what needs to be said.
A quick quip, or a instant reaction to someone else, or a nod of the head over there so you can check out a website or a funny picture I just found. It doesn’t need to be permanent. A tweet doesn’t need commentary; and of course the 118 characters (140 minus the 22 Twitter exacts for a automatically shortened link) is also a limiting factor.
Rules are good, though. In poetry, especially, I find I usually can’t even bother unless there is a rigid meter and rhyming structure. Limits are also good. Many a run-on sentence could use a break (or five) to clarify points, and often the 3rd or 4th dependent clause would do just as well (and have more punch) if forced to live on its own, outside of the comma-bridged habitat.
There is of course Tumblr, which is also a microblogging service — well actually, there is nothing to stop you from posting essays or huge galleries on tumblr except for the unwritten rules and ‘societal norms’ that predominate there. I have a tumblog already, which exists (at the moment) only to reblog the witty and funny stuff of others. Tumblr is a rich vein. [It is also a tad wild; despite the more recent Yahoo ownership it is very easy to find Tumblr’s not-safe-for-work side.]
I don’t see why I should post to Tumblr, though, as no matter how devoted a following I might find there, my words would belong to someone else. The platform is fine, and the tools convenient, but the whole construct of Tumblr is one-major-media-story away from Being Exposed To The Public with the inevitable backlash and corporate over-reaction and user exodus. David built something amazing over there, though; as he is still involved in the day-to-day, maybe Tumblr will avoid becoming just another Geocities- or MySpace-like internet footnote.
…And of course, most of my objections apply to Twitter as well: I don’t own that space, and while I can download an archive, without the twitter-owned platform those snippets-of-wit are close to useless.
It’s not the words—the tweets—that matter, but rather the connections. For that small group, the 80 or so people I “follow” who happen to “follow” me back, Twitter is an ongoing conversation, and the value we derive from Twitter is directly related to those connections. Sure, we could do the same thing on IRC or in a Forum somewhere (or even Usenet, or a BBS) — but Twitter has the advantage of already being on your smart phone and also enjoys a right-place-right-time advantage that is notoriously difficult to duplicate.
[every tech startup wants to be “The Next” — the next Facebook, the next Twitter, the next Angry Birds, whatever — but the difficult part is being original, and implementing well, and building. Twitter outsourced a bit of this, with their once lenient API, and also let the users define the service and the experience — not that they had that intention but Twitter adopted retweets, hash tags, and even the “@” after the fact.]
I have to ask myself why I give all this great content to others? Why not post it here? I own the domain, I can mess with the CMS and CSS style sheets to my heart’s content, from the backend I can queue posts as easily as I could schedule an afternoon of tweets…
[Actually, I could do a lot more with the CMS… I should look at updating the software, at minimum.]
Quite a few of the blogs I read most often are “link blogs” or other curators and aggregators — Not news sites but the creative-funky-weird-and-wonderful-stuff that we all love about the internet. On a good day (once or twice a year) I might even be able to
shamelessly copy the formula match their output.
I won’t know until I try.
On Twitter, I have ~500 followers, and as mentioned the 80 or so folks who aren’t lurkers or spam accounts, but there is also the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend effect, so my reach is closer to 1000, or maybe 2500? Who knows?
For RocketBomber the only stat I can be sure of is the 30 or so people using the RSS feed. The catch-22, though, is that my subscriptions are low because the post frequency is correspondingly low: If I don’t write how can you read it?
…And there is nothing to say I can’t also use other media. [!]
While I’m at loose ends for a bit, at the very least I should give this a try.