Lately on Twitter, I’ve gotten into Retweeting, which is the cheap and easy way to share cool stuff you run into there. For those of you not familiar with it, basically I see a cool thing (or something that MIGHT be cool; sometimes I’m too busy to follow the link myself), click a couple of times, and bada-bing!, I’ve shared it with my 520 followers. WAY better than having to GO to the link, COPY the URL, PASTE it into the form on TinyURL, copy and paste the NEW URL into the Twitter form, and type an explanation of what it leads to.
Way better, especially on the Blackberry, which is the way I look at Twitter the most.
So Retweeting is cool, but here’s something that’s not cool, as I complained this morning:
Twitlonger is a decadent indulgence. I have only contempt for those who lack the discipline to say it within 140 characters. Harrumph.
I wrote that because several items I had retweeted this morning were already too long before I tried to send them, so my Blackberry automatically sent them using Twitlonger. But it let me know each time it did so. So I could feel the shame.
So much of the virtue of Twitter is the brevity. It’s a very satisfying medium, partly because of the challenge of expressing an idea fully in 140 characters. As I’ve noted before, it’s like writing haiku (if haiku were a lot less demanding). The discipline is good for the brain, and considerate to one’s audience.
But of course, as with anything that’s demanding and challenging and has a lot of rules (marriage, the Marine Corps, being Catholic, baseball), our lazy, permissive, anything-goes society’s going to come up with a way to cheat and get away with it. Hence Twitlonger, which allows you to break the 140-character rule. Look, if you can’t frickin’ say it in 140 characters, start a blog! Use a different medium.
Instead of sullying one that is pure and good (in the way that Hemingway would say pure and good, in the way that a trout stream is pure and good, etc.). I don’t know about you, but I don’t hold with it.
Come on, people, let’s preserve the unities. Let’s have some respect for the form…