Of Twitter Threads (mice) and Blog Posts (Humans).

By | 20/02/2020

With the sentence “Of Twitter threads (Mice) and Blog Posts (Humans)” you’ll see that I’ve done two things. The first is that I’ve modernised a well-known book title to draw parallels with the practices of writing Twitter threads and blog posts.

People write twitter threads because they think that it’s fast, convenient, will draw an audience and it’s trendy. It keeps people within the same site. No browsing between platforms and websites. There is the notion that people do not want to leave the social networks where they find themselves. Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks are portals, except that once you’re inside your trapped.

The beauty of writing threads is that it’s easy. You only need two hundred characters per tweet. You don’t need to develop and justify your ideas as you would with a blog post. Twitter threads are fleeting. Within a few minutes, they’re gone.

Blog posts, in contrast, requires your inspiration to last. You look at that empty window and you see an insurmountable challenge. You see three hundred words as a challenge not worth attempting. That’s how I often feel about blogging, and that’s why I usually write after a day of sports or other activities. It’s easy to write when the story exists and you’re just remembering it.

By blogging rather than writing twitter threads you’re pushing yourself to learn to write. The more you write the more ideas flow, and the more ideas flow the easier it is to go back and edit. The fear of the blank page dissipates, as does the lack of consistent inspiration.

Another feature of writing a blog post rather than a twitter thread is that you have time to think. There are no updates, no “press to refresh” and other distractions. From the moment you start to write until the moment you run out of momentum you are focused.

The length of my blog posts, and the quality of my writing have improved. I’m taking longer and longer breaks from social media. I’m reverting from a distracted individual who doesn’t follow curiousity to one that explores more.

If you’re worried about being distracted then reading twitter threads will not resolve this issue. You read two or three posts in a thread and see a reply that will take you in another direction, before returning to the original stream of thought.

Contrast this to a blog post. If, and when you skim WordPress and other websites you’re seeing each post and their description before clicking and reading that post for a few minutes. You are fully engaged with the message that the writer wants to share. You then share that post, and people will read it as easily as you did.

Jaiku had threading, but similar to bulletin boards. Twitter’s algorithm fed threads promote the people and threads that make noise without anyone conversing, rather than the other way around.

If you’re inspired and have something to say then blogging is a fantastic avenue because as you’re learning to write with a voice there is a small audience, and as your voice gets stronger, and as your writing improves, so will your audience. In contrast, writing twitter threads gives the illusion of being a writer. You’re getting the attention, but writing snippets.

There is an exception to that rule, of course, poetry. If you’re a poet, and I am not, then Twitter might be an excellent avenue.

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