Tweets in Bottles: A Note on Our Twitterings

Last night, in a move that ranks up there with the splitting of the atom, LIB featured its first "Guest Tweet" on Twitter.  The world, clearly, was shaken to its core.

Twitter continue to prove itself an interesting little creature.  I continue to take issue with the superficiality that seems to pervade the system.  It's like a "medium-is-the-message" facebook status update feature on steroids, in a way.  While the chance to reply to others on the system is entertaining, it raises facebook-like issues: why do I care what x has to say to y about z?  Why does that extremely low-level snippet of conversation need to be public?  Why should your heavy "live-twitter" of a local event clog up my feed?

Yet I recommended Twitter to Professor Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy last week while out for dinner at Clancy's during his visit to New Orleans.  He seemed intrigued (he has a strong base in computer science), and I hope he dives in to explore the possibilities.  It's still a bit of a frontier for the time being.

I thought I would share a portion of an email I sent recently, which explains how we're using our blog's Twitter account (which you can follow over on the sidebar of the blog, too):

That's just the way we decided to designate which of the four of us happened to be making "the tweet" - as you can probably see, Steve S (designated by an /S) and I are the chief users, although Mike F has chimed in (as /F). So, in the case of the tweet you were referring to, that was me (the /B).

I'm still trying to get the hang of twitter myself - I've long been skeptical of it as being too shallow. I also think the term "tweet" is especially annoying - "Don't mind me, I'm just tweeting on twitter right now." It sounds inherently superficial.

Anyway, that's how we've decided to address the issue of a multi-party twitter account (actually, I can't think of any other multi-party account that has distinct individuals tweeting - Wispolitics, State Journal, Cato, etc. are possibly multi-party sourced, but they are thus far an anonymous whole when it comes to posting/tweeting).

Several individuals - when I slam the term "tweeting" - have reminded me how the term "blog" was similarly much maligned as a weird portmanteau back in the early days.  In the short-term at least, I think "twitter" and "tweet" are worse, though.  They have other pre-existing linguistic connotations that tend, I think, to diminish the credibility of the system, its users, and its outputs.

Still, it's mostly about the allure of the technology.  And the people utilizing it - from Shaq to senior citizen Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley to the notorious NOLA Mardi Gras Krewe, Krewe d'Etat.