That’s the genius of Twitter. All of this scaffolding has emerged around a very basic human impulse. A tweet is the manifestation of the human desire to communicate with many other humans at once—to exercise some influence, to inform, amuse, or outrage. Of course, people have been informing, amusing, and outraging each other forever. It’s been said that Twitter is more of a discovery than an invention. What did it discover to make its insane growth possible?
First, Twitter discovered that blogging is hard. At the time of its birth in 2006, many people in traditional media mistakenly thought that blogging was too easy, and would lead to a profligacy of voices and perhaps even the downfall of polite society. But creating and maintaining an old-fashioned blog took time, effort, and an audience. Twitter democratized blogging by redefining it—the term “microblogging service” is today as meaningless as “microcomputer,” but that’s what Twitter was. It gave millions of people voices they might not have known they possessed—and now is in position to sell a place among those voices to advertisers.
Ahahahaha. Thinking is hard. Complete sentences are hard. Brain all hurty! I know, I know, he’s just speaking the truth — we live in a time when people find it too laborious to check their email, let alone read carefully, contemplate at length, and compose a worthwhile response. I just find it hilarious, especially so soon after reading Anne Trubek’s attempt to talk Twitter up as a dazzling new literary genre in its own right. Now, here’s Ford to confirm that, nope, Twitter is anti-writing, writing for people who find actual writing too challenging, the Saturday-morning youth soccer league of writing, where simply being able to stand upright while maintaining a pulse means you’ll be assigned to a team and get to have juice and snacks afterward, even if you spend the whole game picking your nose and chasing butterflies. And to top it off, as Ryan Tate notes, most people who aren’t underemployed tech-savvy Internet junkies couldn’t be arsed to care about it at all:
But it’s not just that Twitter is small and unprofitable. The truth is that few people here in the States actually use the thing. The social network remains a niche product, beloved by journalists, celebrities, and a hard core of miscellaneous obsessive users — but few others.
Anyway, sorry to sound like everyone’s dad ever, but yes, it’s true, most things worth having and doing require time and effort. Reality’s kind of elitist like that.