The Complexity of a Tweet

I am going to be honest and admit that before today, I never really thought of creating a Twitter account. While I’ve never completely disregarded the whole idea of Twitter, I just have never had the urge to really go through the effort of it all.

The irony of this though is that there really is no “effort” when it comes to Twitter. It is easy, accessible, and a quick way of keeping up-to-date with your friends, family, and all of the websites, companies, public figures, etc. that you want to keep in touch with. It makes perfect sense why Twitter’s popularity continues to increase.

When trying to come up with some tweets for today’s assignment, I thought about what Julian Dibbell said in his article, “Future of Social Media: Is a Tweet the New Size of Thought?” He talks about how a tweet can be many different things including, but not limited to:

“…a marketing tool, a public diary, a communal news feed, or even, simply, a sort of brain game — a text-message Sudoku, where the daily challenge is to fit the maximum amount of cleverness into the minimal space of a 140-character limit.”

Ultimately, someone’s Twitter page can be anything they want it to be.

Our goal for this assignment was to create two “thick tweets.” David Silver describes a “thick tweet” as a tweet that “conveys two or more layers of information, often with help from a hyperlink.” As I thought about this assignment, I decided to try and relate the tweets to actual thoughts, events, etc. that are going on in my life. Tweets can be easy and concise, yet they can also be informative and incorporate different aspects of media in many ways.

Something I have noticed when browsing different Twitter pages is that Twitter can be an excellent source of advertising and self-promotion. As a result, Twitter has become a great way of connecting with fans and consumers. Some examples below:

I recently joined ((dop)) (Loyola’s Department of Programming) this year and decided to use Twitter to help promote the sale of Chicago Fire tickets. In my tweet, I was able to mention what is being sold (tickets for a Chicago Fire game), who is selling them (Loyola’s ((dop))), when the game is taking place (Saturday), a link to the original Facebook post from ((dop)), and I used a hashtag to further promote Loyola’s ((dop)) (#loyoladop). In this instance, I used Twitter as a way of promoting one of our school’s events to those who are able to see the tweet.

For my following tweet, I decided to take a different direction. One of the great aspects of Twitter is how we are able to showcase our likes and interests all through a simple tweet to those who follow us. Dibbell says that:

“And just so, too, 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.”

This random observation can be anything from hearing a song on the radio to quickly reading an article on BuzzFeed and wanting to share it with the world. Regardless, Twitter allows people to connect to one another based on their interests and ideas.

Today I had heard Clean Bandit’s Rather Be on the radio. While I have heard the song before, hearing it today inspired me to post it on Twitter. In this tweet I mentioned the artist’s Twitter account (@cleanbandit), I used a hashtag to promote the song itself (#RatherBe), I referenced how I listened to the song (the radio), I provided my opinion on it (I loved it), and I provided a link to the music video so those who have not listened to it before can give it a shot and see if they like it or not.

I wanted to share the song with others in hopes that people will like it as much as I do, but the tweet definitely stemmed from the “random, fleeting observation” that Dibbell describes.

While Twitter has a 140-character limit, through the usage of “thick tweets” we are able to see how much thought and ideas can be compacted in a clear, easy-to-read tweet.

My questions would then be: Do you believe the use of “thick tweets” is a good advertising strategy for companies, celebrities, etc.? And what do you think is more common – “thick tweets” or “thin tweets” that only convey one layer of information?


By William Tolan


One comment

  1. It’s really interesting because one of the main reasons why I never had a twitter (there’s a lot but this is one of my top 3) was because I felt that Twitter was bombarding their pages with advertisements from other companies onto my blog screen. I already deal with enough unwanted advertising on my daily walks, why would I sign up for a social networking site that is full of additional tweets from companies for me to buy their products? From a business standpoint, I do believe “thick tweets” are a great way to pinpoint what you want to advertise to the consumer.

    Regarding what is better (a thin tweet vs a thick tweet), depends on who is posting and who their target market is. If it’s just a celebrity who is not being paid to sponsor a particular item, then a thin tweet will suffice. If it’s a company trying to promote a particular product/service etc then definitely a thick tweet.

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