I am not huge a fan of Twitter. Reducing my words to 140 characters or less is beyond frustrating for me because there is always so much to say. However I will, admit that Twitter’s character limitation inspired me to be creative last night.
My first tweet proved to be the most difficult. I am sure this is because I am still very new to Twitter but also because I could not find anything interesting worth saying. I thought to myself, ‘what could I possible come up with that would be interesting and clever enough for someone to want to read, while portraying a positive representation of myself?’ Before I knew it I had put the act of tweeting on a pedestal where no one, except the cleverest people could reach. So I began to scroll my Facebook feed, hoping to find something worthy to share.
I deliberately made my second tweet very different from my first.
I wanted to say something that was relevant to my reality; something that would be personal enough for readers to get to know a little more about me, without putting too much of my personal information on the internet. However this was when I felt the annoyance of the 140 character limitation. In order for me to put this message out there I had to make every letter and space count.
Why is the limitation of thought so greatly embraced by Twitter? I completely understand Nick Carr’s argument when he mentions the mental changes he has undergone while using such technological tools; I too feel that my ability to focus has been reduced to only mere moments. We live in a reality where information has an expiration date. We no longer find it, because now the most popular demand is for information to find us, and to do so in a timely manner, before it becomes irrelevant.
Even the way we read, is completely different from how we use to. Looking back at my tweets I am amazed that my message is so clear. This language we have created is something to both marvel at and be cautious of because they can be easily be mistaken for proper forms of communication among children in school. For everyone else, this language is a major shortcut to real thoughts. So the luxury of reading a book, becomes labor for those who once enjoyed it.
What is the benefit to this change? Despite his objections to Carr’s article, I do agree with Clay Shirky’s examination of new media in “Does the Internet Make You Smarter?”
Although this technology is a useful tool for overall communication we, as responsible users must find a way to shape this digital tool to increase our benefits. It should not hinder us from advancing our own thought because then, the computer really is smarter.