Abraham Lincoln is quoted with saying “I would have written a shorter note if I had time.” Twitter is in some ways forcing that shortening habit.
Having recently, reluctantly, joined the ranks of Twitter, and only very recently begun to wrap my brain around this phenomenon, I have to wonder if Twitter, and to a lesser effect Facebook are going to transform a major “how” we do something in the workplace. E-mail. And while I am still no fan of Twitter, my guess is that this Twitter effect is a mostly positive one.
I distinctly remember long conversational e-mail discussions ten or more years ago. From time to time I still see a long e-mail, but even then it is broken up with bullets and indentations making it look more like a PowerPoint slide than a letter.
Twitter only allows you to type 140 characters, and while most people also put a link to a longer blog entry (or mad or something) so they can give you at least an entire thought, and Facebook also has some limitations on characters in some of their message formats, I think the “good” change is that it forces people to condense their message into a small space. To think before you just spew text into an e-mail.
It has to be enough of a hook to at least get people to click on the link. Forcing people to boil their idea down into 140 characters is a good skill to build and I honestly think it will end up making e-mail communication more efficient (though Emily Post would barf on the spot if she witnessed our modern day e-etiquette).
That’s what I think. Now I am off to host a birthday party for an eight year-old boy on a BEAUTIFUL sunny day in Seattle.
P.S. Yes, I was tempted to confine this blog post to 140 characters, but like Abe I didn’t have time.