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Friday, August 5, 2011

Communication Czar Needed To Oversee Post-Twitter Society

I’m ready for a post-Twitter world where our communications technology is not skewed to paying more attention to the size of the content but rather to the quality of it. The 140-character limit arbitrarily and unsatisfactorily limits our ability to communicate well. We all seem to have ADD, looking to press buttons in a flurry just so we can get a message out, regardless of what it is. Our punctuation, spelling, and word-choice suffer for it.

A 140-word limit would serve us much better, if space is an issue. I think we should also cap the number of tweets one can send in a given day. If the whole idea is to create a community of short, immediate outbursts then making people ration which outbursts are truly significant enough to be sent out would be ideal. We want more communication taking place and yet we only have so much time to absorb it all.

Do we need a communication czar to help move along the evolution of social media?

By Twitter’s requirement of limiting each post to 140 characters (about 18 words with an average length of six and a half letters) we are forced to make statements and declarations: “Loving Jersey Shore—Snooki is crazy—R U liking it?” It doesn’t allow for giving support to a claim, such as why you love something. It doesn’t really allow for a complete thought to be expressed. The more important or interesting something is, the more you want to talk about it. The thing that propels us to tweet (because you want to share your love for Jersey Shore) now leaves you feeling empty when you go to write about it and realize you can’t say much.

On the other hand, a long e-mail, like a long phone message, is not desired either. We need to find a Goldilocks communication system—not too long, not too short. Just right. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back to using our phones to talk to people and not just text and tweet each other.

I’m surprised there aren’t other Twitter-like services but with a twist:
·        Your tweet can only use four-letter words
·        The tweet must rhyme every fifth word
·        Each tweet has to be done in the form of a palindrome
·        Your tweet has to be like Sudoku, where the letters add up to a certain perfect sum value
·        No tweets can use the letters “u” or “p”
·        The use of at least three compound words will be mandated per tweet
·        Tweeting haikus on the odd days of short months will be the rule

Twitter, I suspect, was created because its ownership is hoping to cash in on an IPO for putting together a trendy service. It is now valued at 8.4 billion bucks and claims to have 200 million users. I also think it was created with advertising in mind. Look at how many celebrities get big bucks just to tweet about a product. Oddly, a tweet could be the length of an advertising slogan or a tag line for a company. But the masses love it as a cost-free way to connect with people and to push out their views. For many, such as those in the book publishing industry, it’s a way to brand, market, promote and sell. The concept of Twitter is cool and potentially useful—provided some changes are made.

First, it needs an established competitor to force it to be better. There are other micro-blogging services out there but can anyone name them?

Second, extend the tweet length to 125-140 words. Depending on how fast you speak, that’s about 30 seconds in spoken form. It would be equal to the length of a TV commercial.

Third, limit the number of posts one can post in a day or week. I don’t know what the number should be, but if it’s imposed uniformly we’ll all benefit.

Fourth, let the tweets expire after a period of time. Must there be a permanent record for one’s lifetime online? Tweets are spontaneous, and sent without deep thought. Not all are important or worthy of lingering in cyberspace.

Fifth, encourage everyone to tweet so the medium can have a greater impact on society. Show others tweets can have substance and meaning and others will join.

Now go tweet this blog post to thousands of your closest friends.

Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer of Planned Television Arts (www.plannedtvarts.com) but the views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and are personal and do not reflect the official viewpoints of PTA. You can read his blog (http://www.bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/) and follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com

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