Much Ado About Twitter

This was my first week back at college for my SENIOR year…gah, I’m a confident person, but I’m not quite ready for this yet. I started this post when I was at the airport waiting for my plane to board and I haven’t finished it until now.

I’ve been pretty annoyed lately with all this talk about cellphones/the internet/facebook/ebooks/etc. are destroying our lives and changing us for the worst. I completely support the idea of considering the future ramifications of our lifestyles, but why does the overarching vibe seem to be so negative about new technology? I’m going to limit this post to Twitter, since I think I have something fresh to say.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a huge twitter fan. I’ve been active for over a year and seriously, for such a drastically simplified set up, it is incredibly clunky! I vastly prefer facebook to twitter, but I put up with twitter because there are SO many agents on twitter who talk non-stop about their lives, which I love reading about.

But nobody complains about the clunkiness of twitter. So many articles complain about how twitter’s 140 character limit is making us think about the world in distilled headlines and constantly search for new abbreviations to cram as much as possible.

That’s true…but wait!

Isn’t this the kind of thinking we’re taught to pursue in school? Aren’t we encouraged to come up with thesis statements, one sentence summarizing of the point of our papers? Thesis writing has always been a struggle for students, but maybe it will be easier now that we’re already starting to think about our lives through this lens. Twitter could teach us to see themes in our lives as well as finding them for our stories or essays. It’s also a perfect lesson in concision. Sure, it often results in atrocious shorthand, but  it also teaches us to choose each word carefully and cut out filler words. I have a terrible habit of overusing the word “just” in anything I write, but while it frequently slips into my facebook statuses, you can bet it’s the first thing to get the boot in my tweets!

Of course, there are plenty of people who put no thought into what they tweet–spelling, coherence, clarity all flies out the window for some folks as soon as they know they’re not being graded (and granted, it’s hard to get correct spelling and grammar when you’re using a cellphone to type your tweets). But those guys aren’t the ones reading and listening to the articles philosophizing on twitter’s responsibility for the decline of comprehensive/deep thought in humanity. So for all those thoughtful tweeters out there: Don’t be ashamed! And for all those twitter-phobics out there: I’m not saying you should jump on the train…err, whale? But maybe it’s time to stop looking down your noses at us?


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