Hey twitter. Just so you know before we get started, I think you’re cool. I enjoy the time we spend together, generally speaking. It’s just — Look.
I don’t really know why I check you so often. Most things that I happen to be following during the ‘boring’ parts of the year; You know the kind. No elections, no colossal world event has really hit maximum information saturation that I can count on you to provide when something qualifies. Snowden, I guess? That’s kind of why I have a bit of a beef, but not really because of the NSA security angle.
It’s news, certainly. But it’s not drama, and that’s what you push on your users more than anything else. Although I don’t think that’s really what you’re good at.
When the news broke that there was this guy named Edward Snowden and he did some Very Questionable Things regarding Our Nations Security (quite), baby – you were saturated.
Tweet after tweet of raucous fury and indignation, followed with the echos of the Entertaining Crazies that is inevitable about every big hashtaggable news story.
It’s really irritating you can’t italicize text, twitter. posting and then ! immediately afterwards after a beat is really just not the same as it is in an IM conversation. If the real-time angle was really about making the platform more of an “instant communication tool”, you’ve left out some basics about writing.
I think, as a platform, that subconsciously, you care more about prose and sentence structure than you’re willing to admit.
You have to craft a really great tweet that contrasts the average mental puke of the common twitterer into something that can get hundreds of retweets. Everything in comedy is timing and context, right? Twitter’s really the only large scale platform where I can use their message delivery contract as a way of defining the product better.
That’s cool — because the natural side effect is that you have a big differentiator than any other service that existed when twitter first did.
You posted stuff, but the web was more primitive then. You just refreshed to see new content. Maybe you had a app or client that gave you real time capability, but it was never really a concrete contract of the service. What twitter did was literally opening up your feed and realizing that there was a few tenths of a second difference between you hitting ‘submit’ and it showing up on my screen and the screen of however many people are following you, if they happen to be looking at the time.
There’s really no upper limit on the creativity that twitter provides for the connoisseur. If you buy into the theory that writing within a structure forces you to work within the medium, 140 characters was the best arbitrary decision ever made. You force the really clever people to craft these gems of creative writing. You also let people work in stream of consciousness style writing and, for the first time on the web, it’s actually forced to be concise. Vine followed it to it’s logical conclusion.
I’d like to think @nerdist and company thought like I just described when they were making @midnight. It’s the most clever way of monitizing twitter I’ve seen yet.
edit; I just got “Well, Actually”‘d by @nerdist himself:
— Chris Hardwick (@nerdist) May 11, 2014