Feb 18, 2009

Making my Point, 140 Characters at a Time

Eric Grant's picture
Eric Grant
Director, Visual Design

I had an interesting debate on the bus during this morning's commute. I was arguing the virtues of liberal thought versus what I feel are the myopic qualities of conservative philosophy, mainly by those who identify themselves as Republicans. It was an insightful, spirited and sometimes tense debate that eventually brought in a few more points of view from those following it. It lasted the entire commute—about 30 minutes—and followed me all the way to the office. The points, counterpoints, rhetoric and partisan bickering weren't what was interesting about this. What made this special is that the entire conversation took place on Twitter, on my iPhone.

I discovered Twitter a few years ago and have been using it more frequently since last summer, with a rise in use during the presidential campaign. At first it was just a casual distraction but I've discovered it to be a very powerful tool for political debate mainly because it forces you to (a) choose your words carefully, and (b) make your point quickly—two concepts our political leaders rarely embrace. Now this isn't a ground-breaking revelation of this unique social networking tool but it's given me a new appreciation for concise political discourse.

Barack Obama's use of the Web as a tool to propell him to victory was masterful and helped shine the light on the benefits of social networking. What were once just a bunch of sites for pictures and for voting on whether someone is hot or not have now become a legitimate platform for serious communication. If there are any doubts about this, simply ask Congressman Pete Hoekstra how legitimate Twitter is.

Disclaimer: My political views are mine, not necessarily those of Hot Studio, and I'll never apologize for them.

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Sarahdippity's picture

Eric, you forgot to mention where we can follow you on Twitter!

PBCliberal's picture

I've thought the same thing; Twitter improves one's writing almost as much as writing regularly does.

Unnecessary words and punctuation are suddenly expensive. An assumed verb or subject is like a gift.

But there are two drawbacks: Real-Life-demands end debates prematurely before the best points can be made, and the 140 character limit makes some complex issues impossible to discuss.

Those two conspired yesterday when I was debating some reactionary who was clueless about the FCC licensing process. I wanted to argue Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ v. FCC but after naming the case there wasn't enough room left to say why I mentioned it.

I just gave up.

bob's picture

sadly, you were actually just debating a computer program that answers logically and easily refutes liberal rhetoric.

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