On the Value of Twitter

In the past, I’ve never quite grokked the whole deal about Twitter. Now that I’m using it, I still don’t quite grok what other folks use it for, nor why it’s as popular as it is. It strikes me as a fun toy (that’s losing six figure quantities of money every month), but not really a useful tool most of the time.

However, I will say this: I’m a wordy bastard, and I appreciate that Twitter enforces a very strict limit on brevity. Learning to say what I want to say in 140 characters or less has been…interesting. I find that if I have an idea I want to Twitter about, I usually have to edit it multiple times to bring it down to 140 characters. It’s good writing discipline.

A recent example: “Between having a brain optimized for finding patterns (even if they don’t exist) and confirmation bias, it’s amazing we understand anything.” Number of characters: exactly 140. Number of edits to fit it in that space: 3. Brevity is hard, but sometimes squeezing out the extraeneous stuff makes the idea more accessible.