The newest publishing platforms — text messaging and Twitter — are remarkably swift. Their speed is made for an information culture that seems always on the move. This is a fancy way of saying that texting and Tweeting are really built for information on the fly: "I'll be at the bar at 7," "Wanna get dinner?," "Listen to this/see this/go to this site."
These pithy missives hedge moving lives — move here, go here, do this — and are immediately forgotten. This is disposable, if useful, language.
I am not really a guy on the move. I have very few friends, even fewer of whom are local, and even fewer of those whom I ever see. No one is inviting me to dinner; I'm not meeting anyone at the bar. And as an increasingly old-fashioned nitwit, I tend to want my words to linger, to resonate, to reverberate.
None of this is a criticism of texting, tweeting, or the way people use them. No, this is only to say that I come to these media platforms from a slightly different angle. Blogging makes sense to me: I consider my words, I write many of them and publish when I'm good and ready. But texting and tweeting are of another order entirely. And yet I still approach them as the same old media: when I text, I want my words to provoke. And so I find myself sitting in front of my phone or Twitter, fingers poised. But nothing comes as I sit there, thinking. And then, finally, some incisive phrase occurs to me and in a mad rush I type it — only it's very slow going as I am still on a phone keyboard — hit send and, for a moment, I think: gold!
And then the poor recipient's phone buzzes. In their no doubt fast paced life, they check the message assuming it will drive them this way or that — to a party, an event, a cocktail. But, no, it's just some obtuse, poorly punctuated abbreviated rant from Coffeen.
Nevertheless, I enjoy this subtle and unintentional jamming of the information media flow.
(It's funny how, sometimes, applying the old methods to the new media can, in a way, be creative — a thought for McLuhan.)