I’m not a fan of social media. It sucks up time, especially for those (me!) with an addictive personality. Social media’s focus on popularity and numbers can be an ego crusher. It also fills the mind with too much information. Really. Too. Much. Information.
And yet, I’ve become hooked on Twitter.
Why do I like Twitter so much? The poet in me loves the minimalism. Twitter leaves no room for verbosity. Say what you have to say in 140 characters or less, and press the send button.
I’m a lover of words and true wordsmiths, and Twitter has some brilliantly witty and intelligent writers. They know how to fashion a funny phrase, a deep thought, a spot-on analysis or a simple, personal thought all within the strict parameters of a tweet. Tweeting can be a form of smart word-play.
As with all social media, there is a dark side to Twitter.
There are a lot of ragers, ranters and haters on Twitter. It’s easy to get sucked into a hell-hole of anger, especially if you find yourself in an “echo chamber” of like-minded folks. The sharing of information turns into a team pep-rally, fomenting righteous indignation against the shared enemy. This happens on both sides of any ideological fence.
Another danger is the passing on of false information. Laziness and ignorance are behind a lot of the dissemination of “fake news”. Here are the rules…Don’t read the full article. Don’t check the sources. Don’t educate yourself on the deeper issues being discussed. Simply read the shocking headline and RETWEET, with the suitable amount of indignation.
I have a tendency towards sarcasm, the quick, snarky reply. Too often, a witty or funny retort is a thinly disguised put-down. I need to discern my words carefully, whether speaking or writing. Am I sharing words of worth, or simply joining the ranks of ranters? Am I providing thoughtful, constructive criticism, or simply a nasty put-down? On a day of especially dark news, where are the messages of hope? Can I write or retweet some wee bit of wisdom that will lift spirits, mine included?
Trump, arguably, is the person most associated with Twitter in recent times. The media salivates every time the man sends out a tweet. The more ridiculous the statement, the more time the media wastes in covering the fall-out.
I have my own theory why Trump likes Twitter so much.
Have you listened to Trump in interviews, speeches, press conferences? Not when he is simply reading from a teleprompter, but when he is speaking as Trump? The man has no substance. He has a sparse vocabulary, and an even sparser intellect. He speaks in catch-phrases. His reasoning is circular. His words give meaningless a new meaning.
Think of a student writing an essay, who knows absolutely nothing about the topic he or she is writing about. What do they do? They ramble. They pad sentences with worthless words. Pad paragraphs with worthless sentences. Pad the essay with worthless paragraphs, all to meet the minimum word count.
This is exactly how Trump speaks.
Twitter, on the other hand, gives Trump a maximum word count well suited to most of what he has to say. Just the bare-bones message, sometimes shouted in CAPS. No in-depth analysis. No explanations. Yes, 140 characters is usually enough for Trump to get his message across. Short, but not sweet. Trump’s words are not poetry. They’re just scary.
Trump’s tweets reflect little or no intellectual energy. He leaves it to his advisors, the media, and the GOP to expend time, money and resources on figuring out what he said.
6 thoughts on “wisdom in 140 characters”
I really relate to having to be intentional about how I use my words, and being tempted to contribute more to the darkness than the light when on Twitter. Great post!
It’s a challenge for sure. Thanks, Margaret!
I tried but no longer do twitter. I see value as “thot for the day”; stripped-down fact: collision here; school closed there; meet you at….. When it expresses opinion it seems “platitudinous”; adjectives substitute for substantives; generalizations that abuse truth and nuance; conclusions without fact. It is “trump haven”, such potential for harm that is not redressed by the value.
(Was that 140 characters?)
Just a tad over 140 characters Dennis! 😏
The “twitterism” of Trump reveales something significant about that universe AND himself. The intellect, poet and ambitious idiot share something in common: brevity. The intellect, but especially the poet can encase, express depth in an economy of words. The ambitious idiot can ONLY address complexity with brevity. Trump calls himself: intuitive. So are “gunsllingers”; rogue cops; knee-jerk politicians; arrogant power who can’t or are of the opinion that understanding and explanation are beneath them. So living in a universe of adjectives, superlatives and comparatives can reveal nuance when accompanied by “substantives” or, the dangerous reality of the absence of substance. When the substance is absent the repetition of adjectives is about all the dangerous, ambitious idiot is capable of Q.E.D.
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