By Anthony Rossi
I first started using Twitter my Junior year of high school and, like many other people, I use this social medium mainly as a distraction. My Twitter timeline is something I can scroll through when I’m bored, when I can’t fall asleep, or when I just need something to look at so I don’t have to make eye contact with strangers on the bus.
At this point, I’ve tweeted 3,621 times and I can honestly estimate that at least 3,610 of those posts were what David Silver would call “thin tweets” (tweets with only one layer of information). Because I am so used to tweeting immature jokes, bad pictures of my friends, and other average things that no one cares about, it was actually a real challenge to sit down and try to figure out something worthwhile to say. I decided to make each of my multi-layered, link-filled “thick tweets” about one of my passions.
With my first thick tweet, I promoted my local improvisation team’s latest show, making sure to include the date, the price, the start time, and the location of the event. I also included a link to our Facebook page so that if anyone was interested, they could quickly find out more information about the team. This is different from my average tweet about the 45 Kings, because I will usually only mention one or two pieces of that information instead of taking the time to include it all. Overall, this thick tweet feels like a much better promotion of the team, because it is informative and interactive instead of a half-assed invitation.
With my second thick tweet, I tried to drum up excitement about Fantasy Football season by posting a link to an article with lineup advice. Usually when I tweet about Fantasy Football it is an out of context little blurb about my team or a player’s status in the league. This thick tweet felt more inclusive and appealing because it doesn’t only focus on my experience with the game, but the game as a whole!
Overall, this exercise was a little difficult for me. Each tweet took more time, more attention, and more creativity than I am used to devoting to my account. Once I had finished typing out each tweet, it seemed to look wrong. This is probably due to the fact that I am used to reading thin tweets, so seeing multiple levels of information in one post made it feel too long and too complex. This, of course, made me think about the readings. Rushkoff’s idea that the net limits complexity and Dibbell’s ideas about the way social media has limited our attention span both seem like prime examples of my experience with thick tweets.
Twitter is tailored to our easily-bored generation and our desire for immediate gratification, so I’m not sure whether my followers would be interested in receiving large amounts of information all at once or whether they would hate me for crowding their timeline with links.
1) If you were to post exclusively “Thick Tweets”, do you think that you would gain or lose followers?
2) Do you think you would get more or less favorites and retweets on each post?