Since I have much more than a mild curiosity about language and modes of expression, that means I am necessarily going to be interested in this new way of communicating so many of my friends seem to have taken up. I haven’t looked into it far enough to know exactly how it all works, but do get the general idea that one signs up for an account, starts publicizing one’s activities in brief missives not to exceed 140 characters, can limit one’s readership or broadcast to the world, can subscribe to others’ feeds and “follow” them, and so forth.
If I understand it correctly, Twitter kind of resembles the “status” part of Facebook where one enters a phrase that then appears as a kind of update of what one is doing at that moment. You know, “Shamus is at the keyboard again, typing up another blog post.”
Actually, the idea of trying to say it all in 140 characters reminds me of my favorite haiku:
To express oneselfOne could say Twitter has had its tipping point here in the last couple of months, having hit the mainstream in such a way that now people everywhere are discussing it and, in some cases, starting to analyze its cultural significance.
In seventeen syllables
Is very diffi
For example, I read an op-ed piece a couple of weeks ago by Leonard Pitts, the syndicated columnist who writes about politics and culture for the Miami Herald, in which Pitts criticized the Twitter phenomenon as a reflection on the shallowness of our culture. Pitts made fun of various people, including some of his media colleagues, who have been using Twitter to report on what shoes they were wearing or that their flights had been delayed. “More people have more ways to reach more people than at any point in history,” says Pitts, “[b]ut it turns out... many of us don't have a whole lot to say.”
Saw more evidence that Twitter has “tipped” yesterday, as Iggy pointed us to a piece by Jay “WhoJedi” Newnum in the Indianapolis Poker Examiner titled “How Twitter is Changing the Face of Poker.” Newnum has been involved with the poker media for sometime now -- you might remember him from some Card Player articles or guest spots on the old PokerWire podcast.
Newnum’s article is thoughtful in its reporting on the fact that like most every other aspect of our culture, more and more poker people are Twittering these days, too. (The article contains a lengthy list of those folks, if yr interested.)
Newnum’s purpose isn’t just to report on this trend, but to say that “Twitter has an even deeper impact on the poker world” in its effect on tournament reporting. Now, rather than rely on select sites to obtain information about one’s favorite player, “you can follow your favorite player and get their specific updates in real time, straight from the source” -- if, that is, your favorite player has his or her Blackberry at the table and is regularly posting such info on Twitter.
“Will Twitter replace poker tournament reporting?” asks Newnum. His answer is no, but he remains convinced that henceforth Twitter will have its effect on how people follow tourneys, with some perhaps forgoing the regular live blog-type reporting in favor of other, more specific channels of info. “[W]ith huge events such as the upcoming World Series of Poker,” says Newnum, “[Twitter] allows readers the specific content that they desire without having to wade through updates that mean nothing to them.”
Funnily enough, my instinctive response to this argument and/or phenomenon is ambivalence. That is to say, it all sort of affects me like those updates certain readers don’t want to have to “wade through.” Still find it interesting, though.
If I thought about it long enough, I’d probably share some of Leonard Pitts’ misgivings about Twitter as a reflection of our culture’s shallowness. My complaint is different from Pitts’, though. I wouldn’t fret so much about what people are writing about on Twitter, but rather over the way Twitter makes it easier for us to narrow our communications with the world by not “following” that which doesn’t already interest us. How are we ever going to learn about anything new if we’ve already decided the great majority of the the world’s offerings “mean nothing” to us?
With regard to poker tournament reporting, real time reports from individuals are neat-o, for sure, but anyone who’s played in a poker tourney knows the individual has a very uncertain, incomplete perspective on the tournament as a whole. Thus even those reports aren’t going to cut it, lacking the needed context that the live blogs and chip count pages provide. Those are always incomplete, too, of course. But they give at least some perspective, and so Newnum is right about Twitter not replacing poker tourney reporting.
As curious as I am about Twitter, I guess I have another problem with it that is a bit more personal. Anyone who has read this blog before knows what I’m talking about.
I’m up to about 5,000 characters now. It would have taken me 36 “tweets” to have said all this!
Maybe I should set up a Twitter account and try to deliver synopses of these long posts? For the “tl dr” crowd? (Too long, didn’t read.) Here is what I could have written for today:
Iggy points to interesting article from WhoJedi about Twitter’s effect on poker tourney reporting. Jedi’s right, but regular reporting not going anywhere. Not yet.
Actually, that wasn’t so diffi.