Culture Tech

Why Twitter Is Good For Us

According to the bestselling author Jonathan Franzen, Twitter is “unspeakably irritating.”

Little does he know that Twitter is the greatest communications tool of our (mobile) time, driving people to read more, act more, and create more.

Twitter can also be the world’s greatest interruptor.  You really have to ignore it to focus on work and family.

But if we killed Twitter today, we’d go back in time to ignorance and silence.  We need noise.  

Here’s my notes and quotes from the New Yorker podcast answering the question “Is Twitter Good for Us?”  You sort out the good and the bad.

  • It allows students to flatter professionals.
  • Although no more than 140 character, it drives people to longer stories.
  • Spending 1 hour on a Tweet isn’t a waste of time.  It’s more thinking, more time in the “batting cage to get it right or wrong.”
  • Twitter is a “meritocracy” where good pieces get rewarded with shares and viewing.
  • “Compressed form” is a literary form.
  • Hemingway would’ve worked well on Twitter b/c of his brevity as well as Shakespeare.
  • We now learn to think in “epigrams.”  Simple and clear English like that that came out of the Civil War.
  • “Good journalism is always a good simulation of talking to someone.”
  • “Just because you’re good at Twitter doesn’t mean you’re good at another thing.”
  • Twitter is like the automobile of 21st Century, giving teenagers leverage like the car did in the 1920s.
  • Humans have “confirmatory nature” and so yes, they’ll follow people that confirm their beliefs.


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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.