140 characters

Picking up where the last post left off, this morning SLP and I were discussing the frustrations some people have with Twitter, and their frequent inclination to dismiss it wholesale as a result. One of the biggest complaints always seems to be that you “can’t say anything” in 140 characters. That the brevity of a tweet naturally leads to flippant, ill-considered, 2 short & hvly abbrvtd, or just plain pointless missives fired into the vast, chaotic fray of similar voices, loudly saying nothing.

As I usually do at this point (although maybe she beat me to it this time), I brought up haiku. Most haiku poems could easily fit within the 140-character confines of a tweet, but few people dismiss the haiku form as too brief to convey meaning. In fact, I was inspired to compose a haiku on the topic of Twitter itself, which I subsequently tweeted, of course:

Twitter, like haiku,
Is brief, but you can still say
Something meaningful.

Of course Twitter, like all forms of communication, has limitations. And of course some of what ends up on Twitter is pointless babble. Just because someone gives you the tools doesn’t mean you know how to use them. But to dismiss the entire platform simply because it has constraints or because you don’t like the way certain other people are using it is as silly as dismissing haiku because you can’t write a dissertation in 17 syllables.

But sometimes that’s all you need. Is this 262-word blog post really more effective at communicating the merits of Twitter than my (as SLP called it) twaiku?