Can Twitter Become a Serious Public Forum?

My thoughts on Twitter are extremely biased. I do not use Twitter very much because I don’t think that these bite sized thoughts don’t have much going for them. I do not like to use Twitter because I find the most updates to be asinine and because of the difficulty of having a worthwhile discussion in such a short space.

Dibbell says, “by forcing users to commit their thinking to the bite-size form of the public tweet, Twitter may be giving a powerfully productive new life to a hitherto underexploited quantum of thought: The random, fleeting observation.” Sure, a series of observations can be very helpful in order to describe an event. However, when taken out of context these observations can work against us. For example, could you imagine what Twitter would have looked like on September 11, 2001? The bombardment of information true or untrue, complete or incomplete would have been overwhelming. Any attempts to wade through the swamp of updates would have been nearly impossible. Twitter requires us to be at least succinct if not clever and enlightening. My experience composing thick tweets showed me just how difficult a task this is. Using word shortcuts, converting web addressing via tinyurl.com, and forgoing proper punctuation for the sake of attempting to communicate ideas is difficult, particularly when the idea consists of more than our breakfast lattes. Dibbell warns, “Sure, it’s easy to dismiss Twitter because of the content… But that would be a mistake.” Julian believes that Twitter has the potential to be more and cites TV as an example of a medium, which though dubious at the start has become a force for social change. While mindlessly tweeting can be fun, successfully composing a tweet with multiple layers of information is hard, especially if we try to do so without linking to an outside source. I don’t believe that Twitter’s 140 characters can replace TV or news websites as a public forum for discussion. However, I do believe that a witty tweet (see below for example), can stimulate theories and ideas, which can be elaborated upon in other platforms.

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One comment

  1. I definitely agree about the difficulty of composing a thick tweet. Trying to fit an entire thought into 140 characters was not as easy as I had anticipated. I think the tweets that you pulled, though, are really good examples of thick and thin tweets. The tweet from Andy Borowitz is a really good and interesting take on both mental health and gun control, and I think it show really well how impactful 140 characters–or in this case, less– can be.

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