March 8, 2008

Why you can’t explain twitter in 140 characters

This post was last updated on May 6th, 2014 at 10:33 pm

I’ve identified myself as a closet twitterer. Like RSS, I have a hard time explaining twitter, so usually I don’t even try. I can’t articulate it. So when Common Craft came up with their latest video, some have seen it as being a great way to show others what twitter is all about. I don’t share that enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong I think the work of Lee Lefever is great but this one misses the mark. I know, he can’t share it all in the time constraints of that format, but I’d have to say that if I didn’t know what twitter was, I’d watch that video and say, “that sounds stupid”. That’s how I‘ve always felt about any explanation.

Today I listened to the TWIT podcast with guests Dave Winer and Steve Gillmor. The last half of their podcast, they address twitter and really begin to uncover its power and potential. There are some pretty significant reasons they address including the ability to select your network, its political and social change implications as well as the appeal of the short, concise bytes of information that lead to larger and more significant learning.

So while I love the 140 format and conciseness in general, there are just too many layers to explain in a 140 seconds.

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