Length doesn’t matter


Social media, in particular Twitter, comes under a lot of flak for being ‘trivial’ or ‘superficial’.

The problem with this sort of characterisation is, it’s subjective.  It’s also elitist and ignorant.

Saying “social media is trivial” is like saying human conversation is trivial. It’s akin to saying, all television is idiotic, or all glossy magazines are trash. It’s so broad-brush; all it ends up doing is making the accuser look silly.

Television has produced Three and a Half Men, and Cougar Town. It’s also the home of Sir David Attenborough, The Wire, West Wing, Sopranos and countless news bulletins that have had us holding our breath. Glossy magazines run the gamut of Famous Weekly or OK! to Time, National Geographic and Rolling Stone.Content found on social media is just as diverse. It’s as unpredictable as the content of books listed with Amazon. It’s as wide ranging as the conversations at an inner city restaurant. Sure, there will be some light hearted banter that won’t change the world … but in other cases, you’ll learn something, you’ll be profoundly impacted, and you may just change your behaviour.

Who says you can’t be profound in 140 characters or less?

The following meet the Twitter word count –

 “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” – Ghandi

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Theresa

“Truth is incontrovertible, ignorance can deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.” –Winston Churchill

“It gives me a deep, comforting sense that things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.” – Helen Keller

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

“Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive.” – Stephen Fry

“And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.” – The Beatles

 Footnote: there are Twitter accounts dedicated to posting quotes. I am not a fan of these. This list simply serves to illustrate that you don’t need to write an opus to make a point. Trivia is not dictated by word count.

Who judges what's trivial?
Who judges what's trivial?

5 Comments Add yours

  1. John Salter says:

    This invites the classic “yes, no and maybe”. Internet platforms are neutral – they can be used well or poorly – for good or evil.

    Even the limited character string does not stop people (such as Mike Rann) “stacking a run” – I.e. Setting up a piece, dividing it into tweets, then posting them in a chain.

    Better yet is the embedded link to riches – be they text, video, pics or anything else possible.

    So all in all, a flexible little platform able to be used in many ways from any place with many different devices. Trivial. Only if you are.

    1. CathieT says:

      I agree.

      Twitter can be as profound or as inane as you choose to make it!

      Those who scoff at *anything* are usually those who don’t understand it and again you’ve hit the nail on the head.

      Oh and PS

      Cognito Ergo Sum. 17 characters! Not too trivial at all!

  2. drew says:

    I had an amazing idea the other day. I thought ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be good to set up a Twitter account as Oscar Wilde, and tweet nothing but pithy Oscar Wilde quotes?’
    So I checked if anyone was already doing it.
    There were dozen or so.

    That said, an excellent example of this kind of thing is the Samuel Pepys blog, which just kinda makes sense.

  3. Yes, I agree, it takes a lot of skill to encapsulate your thoughts into just 140 characters of text but it’s a good skill to have, longer doesn’t necessarily mean better although it’s good to have a balance and with Twitter you can do that simply by linking to other content.

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