What Happens to a Thought Tweeted?

My guess?  Not much.  It slips away, lost in the collection of tweets that came before and after.  But before it does, it steals the little bit of exigence that, over time, builds up and becomes a blog post.

Or maybe not – but it seems to happen that way to me – tweets discharge the writing mojo that builds up into pushes to publish posts.  There’s value in the short form – but I think there’s more value in long form, in writing that pushes the writer.  The tweets need to go somewhere, to lead to something.  So I’m going to try a couple of things in my own practice over the next few weeks and see where they take me.

First, whenever it’s practical, I’m going to try to come to a blog and write whenever I feel the urge to tweet.  Might mean some short posts, might mean slightly longer ones.  Might shut me up completely for a while.  We’ll see.  If I do find myself tweeting in spite of my little push, and I expect I will – Twitter’s an exceptionally useful piece of my workflow, even as I find some destructiveness in it, I’m going to try to take a moment once a week and pull out some short statements that could use a bit of explanation or elaboration.  Really, I’m hoping to let my tweets become writing reminders or prompts for me here on the blog. I’ll be using Twitter Tools to push a weekly digest of tweets to the blog, making my utterances in one place fodder for more utterance in another. Looking at that digest will also give me a way to review my Twitter behavior on a regular basis – which probably isn’t a bad idea.  I’ve seen Dan do this on our district Help Desk blog, and I think that might be useful, at least for me.  If it gets in your way, let me know.

Not sure if any changes to my writing habits will develop, but I’d like for them to.  Like I said, we’ll see.  But I know I need to mix things up a bit to push myself.  Too much Twitter means not enough depth.

8 thoughts on “What Happens to a Thought Tweeted?

  1. You say,
    “I’m going to try to come to a blog and write whenever I feel the urge to tweet. Might mean some short posts, might mean slightly longer ones.”

    I just felt like a jump inside at reading that line.

    Is it that networking long enough with a blogger makes your thoughts more synced? Perhaps I chose to stay tuned to your updates because we already are. Who knows.

    I’ve been writing like that for a week. I find it is much easier to approach my blog that way. Just two drafts. Well, I’m a slow blogger and perhaps that will not necessarily change.

    The trigger for this new approach was a tweet of yours saying “say more”. Remember? It made me think that sometimes I have to think before I post in Twitter. Sometimes the mind gets to a conclusion in an intuitive way. Tracing the steps that got me there in a blog post has been a challenging writing exercise.

    I admit that when I realised I had run out of time and had to stop writing and go on with the post at my next opportunity made me a bit frustrated. I wanted to answer faster. This is a limitation I have never felt in Twitter. Yet, Twitter is limited.

    The point is that not facing that Twitter comfort zone stretch of needing more time if it requires a post has been leading me to an overuse of one tool. This is where I went wrong.

    I disagree with you on one point only. When you say that “there is more value in the long form”. To me, it is not a question of gradable value, but of what communicative/connective purpose each tool inherently favours.

    Blog and Twitter intertwined rather than one overriding the other.
    .-= Claudia Ceraso´s last blog ..Gmail is Down =-.

    1. Bud Hunt says:


      Of course I remember. And I also understand your disagreement about long form/short form – both long and short have value. But for learning – short is a beginning, perhaps, and long exploration is what I need right now. And maybe what we always need. Maybe.

      1. Beginning or concluding.

        A topic line in a paragraph can be short. It needs development. That is one of the things we are all doing here at one time or another. Expanding our thoughts.

        The conclusion line in the paragraph can also be short and speak volumes. It may well stand on its own. A quotable. A tweet.

        The problem with tweets like that is you may invite a simple “agreed” or a RT. They end up being a bit dogmatic. Far from conversation starters inviting to explore further.

        I need that too.
        .-= Claudia Ceraso´s last blog ..Gmail is Down =-.

  2. Hmmm. I understand your points, Bud.Where I have found the power in Twitter from a literacy standpoint is that I am able to succinctly state what I mean without a lot of overbearing gibberish added in. Sure, colorful extensive writing can be a pleasure as well, but many times we need to just get to the point in a shorter amount of time with as much voice and emotion as we would otherwise. Twitter gives me that practice, if you will.
    .-= Scott S. Floyd´s last blog ..TCEA Convention 2010 =-.

    1. Bud Hunt says:

      Twitter is powerful. No doubt. Succinctness and speed are useful plenty of the time. But not all of the time. I’ve been leaning too far one way. Time to self-correct.

  3. Franki says:

    Interesting post. I tend to tweet the things that I don’t feel like turning into a blog post. So my tweets are not so thoughtful. But I have found, especially this week, that some of the people I followed have put out a great line in a tweet–one that really got me thinking about something I hadn’t thought about. Just a line about something connected to education that changed my thinking. Lines that have stayed with me over a few days. Lines for me to think from. As a reader, tweet reading gives me things to think about in different ways that blog posts do and my favorite writers do both and I learn different things from the different types of writing if that makes any sense at all.
    .-= Franki´s last blog ..THE RUNAWAY MUMMY: A PETRIFYING PARODY by Michael Rex =-.

  4. I find that blogs inspire me to question, think, and learn more than Twitter does. I know that I learn the MOST when bloggers are willing to prompt difficult conversations and explore topics/perspectives that make others uncomfortable. When these sorts of debates begin to take place on Twitter, I find that sometimes, they run a greater risk of becoming tight battles that leave participants and lurkers emotionally charged but no better informed, simply because there is little room to provide explanation. The most skillful bloggers that I read often shape posts around these conversations and invite Twitter followers to participate in richer conversations on their blogs. I find that this is where debate tends to bear fruit that everyone can learn from.

    Blogging can be more time-consuming, and I know that Twitter is appealing for this reason, but you have me wondering if meaningful blogging requires a greater level of courage and/or expertise as well.

    I spent last year investigating Twitter and establishing a network there, and I also posted on my own blog regularly. I didn’t comment much in other places though, and I have a hunch that shifting my practice in this way will be more rewarding for me. That’s what this year is about for me. I’m looking forward to reading about what you discover along the way here…particularly because you’ve always been one of those courageous and skillful bloggers I’m referring to. : )
    .-= Angela Stockman´s last blog ..My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student =-.

  5. Hadass Eviatar says:

    You are right, Bud. Since I started participating more strongly on Twitter, my blog has suffered. I don’t think I’ve posted anything there since the spring. And yet it was not for lack of things to say, I just said them on Twitter.

    Thanks for the food for thought!

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