RT @UserName Tweets are real content, you guys #srsly

The following post touches on three things: Twitter, overreaction and a tidy little moral.

On Twitter, and its Place as Serious Content

There are two schools of thought on the validity of Twitter’s content. One school sees Twitter comments as banal, throwaway lines, not worthy of archiving or protecting. They’re the bottom of the barrel, resting comfortably next to Facebook updates and MySpace pages.

The other understands that Twitter continues to serve as a micro-microblog. There may only be 140 characters, but that limit doesn’t downplay the merit of the thought. In other words: you say it in 140 characters or 140 paragraphs – there’s no difference in the hierarchy of importance.

Those that tweet about breakfast are in the first group. Those that spend time crafting brilliant non-sequiturs are in the second. Those that pooh-pooh Twitter as a waste of time are in the first. Those that see Twitter’s value as a depository for new information are in the second.

I’m in the second group.

Which is why I get so upset when a tweet is mishandled. My tweet. My words. My thoughts.

My Overreaction

See, it was cold outside. It was snowing. It was a blizzard; as in, the snow was blowing sideways. And I could have said this. I could have said, on Twitter, “THE SNOW IS BLOWING SIDEWAYS,” and gotten on with my life.

I didn’t. Because I’m in that second group of Twitter users. Instead, I wrote this.

Not high on the LULZ Meter, but still, better than just saying “THE SNOW IS BLOWING SIDEWAYS.”

I continued on with my day. And then, I was re-tweeted.

A subtle change – and a change made in good faith – but enough of a change to upset the timing, lose the sarcasm and render my former tweet spayed and neutered. Just like that, my mood went black. Tired of being nice, I respond with this passive aggressive gem.

I felt better. For a while.

And Here’s Why I’m a Cranky Twitter User

If I write a blog post and someone wants to link back to it, I expect to be quoted accurately. Not out of context. I expect that what I say will be represented just as well on someone else’s blog as it is on my own – in fact, maybe even more so, since my work is being passed along with additional helpful comments attached.

I expect this because it’s what should be done. It’s what you do in print. It’s what you do at newspapers and magazines. It’s what you do when you’re blogging. It’s good, clean attribution.

On Twitter, however, things are still rolling like the Wild West. Tweets are seen as a thought, not a carefully worded message. That I wrote my original in a certain tone, with specific punctuation, isn’t taken into consideration. After all – it’s just a tweet, and it’s free to be passed along, truncated to allow for a RT and a hashtag and attribution even though, if you think about it, the tweet no longer represents what I said in the first place.

It’s why I don’t care for re-tweeting “with comments,” and why I rarely do it.

I’ve since apologized for the passive aggressiveness. The person who RTed me didn’t mean harm. It’s just that the perception of Twitter as a playground for creative content is still in its infant stages. And, thanks to its ever-expanding use, it may never reach that point.

Which is too bad. One spin through the old Favrd (now Favstar, I guess) community is enough to see the promise that Twitter holds in the form of one-line, creatively penned tweets, as valuable as any long form blog post or magazine article, whether for information, humor or truth.

Until that day, I’ll be over here, fighting for Twitter standards and burning bridges I never knew existed.

This was lovingly handwritten on January 26th, 2010