The Art of Twitterature Means Making 140 Characters Count
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The whole world is on Twitter. Yawn.
Tweets, people will tell you, rot our brains. They ruin our attention spans, inflate our egos. Maureen Dowd would rather be eaten alive by ants than be Twittering, or so she said in a recent column.
So let's keep this thesis statement short, shorter than the 140 characters allowed by the micro-blogging service:
@Naysayers: Twitter is more complex than it looks. It might even be art.
Almost everyone appears insanely boring on Twitter.
This is because the question Twitter asks its approximately 7 million users is, What are you doing? And because users can respond to that question via mobile device, the answer is often: waiting.
They're waiting at the DMV. They're waiting for dinner. They're at the airport, waiting for a flight, and when they get home they can't wait to see "Wolverine."
Ashton Kutcher, the much-heralded Twitterer with the most followers -- approaching 2 million -- is no exception.
"We are in the middle of a tornado watch," he, as aplusk, tweeted recently, waiting for production to resume on a film set. But we don't care when movie stars are insanely boring. Their insanely boring days fascinate us.
Here's something odd:
There are some non-celebrities who amass giant followings. Thousands of strangers tune in for regular updates of these nobodies' lives.
And something else odd: The next few months will see a slew of books about Twitter. Most of these tomes are 200-plus pages, meaning the books teaching you how to use Twitter are 3,000 times longer than the longest thing you'll ever write on Twitter.