Sunday, October 3, 2010


If you look to the right of this post—no, just a bit lower—you'll see a few of my most recent tweets.  In case you happen to be Osama bin Laden (rumored to be an avid reader of mine) and have therefore been living in a cave for the past decade, I will explain that a “tweet” is a short message posted via Twitter.  If you're still not sure what I'm talking about, well... here's hoping my next post will be of more interest to you.

As a short-form writer, Twitter holds a certain appeal for me.  I believe there is beauty in brevity.  I enjoy the challenge of being witty, or relevant, or at least not boring, in 140 characters or less.  For my wife, though, Twitter represents all that is good and right and fun about the Internet.  She tosses clever bon mots back and forth with other Twitterers all over the world.  She turns to Twitter for updates on developing news stories.  And she is active on Foursquare, a Twitter-related service whose main purpose, as I understand it, is to alert criminals as to your exact location.

But, when it comes to actual human communication, it turns out that you can't really delve into a topic with any subtlety or nuance using less characters than are contained in this sentence.  And so Twitter at its worst (and it is often at its worst) is a forum for slogans and sound bites.  In other words, tweets are the bumper stickers on the information superhighway.

To illustrate this problem, I've decided to render some famous quotes here as tweets.  See if you think they are more or less effective than the original:
87 yrs ago, our 4fathers created this nation concvd in liberty, dedicated to prop that all men are created =. 
Yestrday, 12/7/41, day that will live N infamy, Japan attacked Pearl Harb. Many lives lost. Now we're at war.
N beginning, God created hvn, earth. Then plants, birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, 2ppl (Adam&Eve). Etc.
I can't help but feel something has been lost in the translation.

And so, while I plan to continue to enjoy Twitter (if only to keep track of where my wife is at any given moment), I'm pleased to have the opportunity, through this blog, to explore my topics in slightly more depth.

Still, let's give Twitter the final word here.  Because, as it turns out, some of the greatest utterances in history work just fine as a tweet:
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
 Beauty in brevity?  Absolutely.


  1. I prefer the Operation Torch spinoff of that Churchillian quote.

  2. Well... share it with the rest of us. I know it because I learned it the same time you did. But other readers here may not, so...