Are you Content not to Contend with Content?

robinHad a conversation with a colleague about Twitter today. She was claiming that you can’t say anything worthwhile in 140 characters, a suggestion made by many that I’ve tried to explain the popular microblog to. I’d argue it depends what you’re trying to say and why.

In casual conversation, ideas flow easily; often so little is said that many sentences remain incomplete, superceded by understanding as the speakers move swiftly on. Twitter is a bit like this.By contrast, official discourse may succumb to bloating formalities and artifice. I know that my favourite work emails are those whose tone more closely resembles what you’d expect from an IM. Sometimes, there’s a lot of info to get across and more structure is required- here lies the distinction between documents and conversations.

Blogs can broadly fall into either category but in the case of microblogs like Twitter, the closest you are likely to get is the conversational equivalent of a greeting accompanied by a bit.ly link to the ‘document’. If executed properly, the relationship may be mutually beneficial and symbiotic – the conversation often continues within the blog’s comments section or via various retweets down the line.

On a side note, among the reasons that I enjoy Twitter lies one particular motivation which I haven’t seen mentioned much. Twitter is a game and one that not many people have figured out yet. The rules are still forming and the extent of its benefits are yet to be discovered. That’s a bit exciting.

So, for people in my situation, I think there are a couple of important things to remember.

If you aren’t contending then you never know what potential is being squandered and if you can’t supply interesting content on a regular basis than that’s one challenge you seriously need to embrace. It’s not always an easy exercise but one that can only end with you broadening the skills you have to offer.

- Max Tatton-Brown

June 23rd, 2009