Sunday, May 10, 2009

Twitter - winning the war against eloquence

Having had a lot of time off from blogging, I'm even more out of date than usual. Some months ago, after listening to a radio segment about Twitter, I wrote the following, and since then Twitter seems to have taken over the world. Of course, it seems to be essentially a networking vehicle, and I'm the world's worst networker, and a completely isolated, pathetic soul. Anyway, here's my piece, for my own amusement.

Being a dweller in the most pathetic Beckettian solitude, I'd never heard of Twitter before this morning, when I listened to a Radio National program called Future Tense - more moderne than moderne.
According to the program's hype, Twitter is rapidly replacing Facebook etc as the latest thing in networking - not exactly my forte.
A very brightly speaking young gent was interviewed, and he enthused about the level playing field that Twitter is - largely because all communications are limited to 140 characters. The advantage of this, according to our interviewee, is that eloquent people - this is the term he used - don't have an unfair advantage. You begin to get a sense of why it's called Twitter. He also pointed out that [presumably articulate] people don't get a chance to hijack the space and 'debate politics' or some such subject.
So, lpf or lcd? What do they actually talk about on such sites? I'm sure that, at a pinch, you can say something substantial with 140 characters, but why do I get the impression that the push is against substantiality? That Twitter is a dumbing down of Facebook which is a dumbing down of Blogging which is a....
I know it's nowhere near as linear as this, and that imposing restraints can sometimes lead to greater creativity, but really the move is not towards greater creativity but towards more bums on seats. A democratisation which has its downside. I can well imagine that the next great networking service might be Twitch, in which those who can't read or write will also be included [it could even be used to bridge the language barrier by simply eliminating language, or creating a new universal one, in which each touch of the keyboard represents a gesture or emotion. We can all Twitch, and someone will be Twitching all the way to the bank. Good luck to them.



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