Twitter and services like it, including FriendFeed and others, are becoming more and more popular. Many combine the ease of use of instant messaging with the more widespread broadcasting ability of a blog. What’s more, they are much more timely and succinct. When you have only 140 characters to get your message across, as with Twitter, not only do you cut out the extraneous, but you are also likely to post more often than when you have to come up with 500 to a thousand words for a blog entry.
But I am beginning to think that therein lies the danger – at least it does for me. When I can say what I am thinking and let off that mental steam quickly and easily, it takes the burn away for me to do blog entries. Anyone who looks at the history of my entries on this blog can see that the frequency has gone down since I began using Twitter. Think of it as text messaging versus the telephone call. If I can send a text message to my wife telling her I will be home late, there is much less pressure on me to actually pick up the phone and make a call. And sure, she gets that bit of information that I needed her to know, but what we aren’t doing is really conversing. We don’t hear the tone in each others voices and we don’t drift in to other topics and find out more information. Some might say that is a good thing, but it can take its toll.
And that, I fear, is what is happening with this and some other blogs. The fast and easy is replacing the longer and more thought out. Don’t get me wrong, I think that services like Twitter and instant messaging have their place, especially in today’s fast paced attention deficit world – and I intend to keep using them. But, I also believe that we need to make sure we don’t give short shrift to the fuller and deeper message. We need to take the time to have the full conversation – with all the give and take and feedback that entails.
What do you think? Do you Twitter? Has it changed the way your other communications go?