Through Thick and Thin: Do Tweets Matter

The difference between thick and thin tweets is similar to the difference between reading a headline in a newspaper and reading the whole article. One gives you a statement, and the other gives you detail, makes you turn a page, and become a little more invested in that article.

In the same way, a thick tweet forces the reader to go to another medium, whether it be a Vine video, a webpage, etc… and do some viewing, and hopefully some thinking, on that new medium. Tweets like these include links to new sources of information, instead of “I had cereal for breakfast.” That message begins and ends there.

The most interesting part of using thin and thick tweets is this off juxtaposition where you have a very limited space, only 140 characters, to impart several different layers of complexity. How do you use words, links, hashtags, etc… to achieve maximum cognitive effect?

In my experience, thick tweets go something like this: statement, link, hashtag. The order doesn’t vary too much, and very rarely are things added. Pictures, videos, and other things that show up right in your twitter feed are nice, but in my mind, a thick tweet actually takes you to another screen or application. It requires you to digitally turn the page.

This tweet from Google is about as complicated as I’ve seen.

thick tweet


Google brings you in with some info, has a hashtag that requires some digging, and then links to an external page. This is a perfect example of a thick tweet. The tweet, to me, is a perfect example of Dibbell’s article. This is a quick medium, but links to more complexity, but only if we choose. We may not think in links and hashtags, but we are given the option, and we can take it if we so desire.


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