About Twitter Notes feature
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That’s not really a big news as the feature is in development since some times, but you may have heard about “Twitter Notes”. To summarize, this feature will allow its users to write actual blog posts without the well-known 280 characters limitation. I’ve never liked Twitter, and generally the social medias based on the audience, magical algorithms, and immediate reaction generating shitstorms, and also selling their users like a vulgar bag of meat. And I’m not a subscriber of this platform.
But, I think it’s a good thing.
I’m not a social media user since a lot of time. The first I’ve subscribed is Fosstodon because I was mainly curious about the Federate social platform and finally I’ve found a good place to communicate. Before that, I was just blogging on Plume, which is also federated.
In my opinion, the major difference between micro-blogging and classical blogging is the characters limitation (Thank you Captain Obvious) and also the flow speed. In my experience with both blogging and Mastodon-based social media, on the second one we aspire to a more immediate posting and sharing than in traditional blogging. Something liked, disliked, a though we want to share, a lot of reactions posted on micro-blogging platforms is immediate and the immediate answers or notifications amplify this effect (our brain is addicted to dopamine, that’s logical).
On an ordinary blog, being disconnected from the continuous flow permit to take your time to write your words. You write your post when you want, at the speed you want, offline or online, and you send it. Still on my experience here, it can take me days, or weeks, to write a single blog post. Because of various reasons : time, mood, ideas, related to an activity that takes some time, etc. Or I can also write and develop an idea and publish it in the hour.
On a micro-blogging platform, I don’t have the feeling you can do this and the Threads view can become quickly unreadable. When a message included in a thread is retwitted or boosted, there is a lot of risk to lose the initial context and being confused by it. A blog post is an autonomous text, consistent and complete, that can never lose its context (unless it’s poorly written, this can happen too…). Fosstodon’s admin Kev Quirk wrote about this on his blog and I share his opinion, I invite you to take of look on it.
Because of social medias encouraging to react immediately, and because you are encouraged by the number of “followers” or “retweets/boosts” to continue, I think you can’t have the time to properly put your though into words. The reaction is more immediate, more crude, and that’s the basis of the daily Twitter shitstorms we heard about on the news. Because you can’t develop a solid opinion with a 280 characters limitation. Even with Mastodon’s 500 characters I think its still difficult and you have to shorten your though. I usually take my time to write my messages on Fosstodon (and I don’t publish a lot to be honest), answer to people and share some opinion with them. Of course, one of the main reason is because I’m not an English native and I’m always afraid to write something that could be wrongly interpreted because of a mistake.
But also because I usually try to avoid immediate replies.
You may have lived this kind of situation at your work : somebody sends you an email, then sends you a chat to ask you if you’ve read their email (or call you on phone…) ? It’s like we can’t now wait for a reply, everything must be immediate and if you take your time to read the email and reply it, the sender will think you’re not working because they didn’t had the response in the minute. That’s the best way to make a situation going uncontrollable and escalate in verbal violence. In my experience, these kind of situation happened more often since the COVID pandemic and the generalization of home working in France. If you didn’t answer to a chat notification or an email in the minute, the sender will think you are sleeping in front of Netflix, inducting the feeling to yourself that you have to answer quickly. A hellish loop. For me, the continuous flow of the social medias is the same thing.
I think I’ve exposed my opinion about hte differences between a traditional blog and the micro-blogging, so, let’s go back to the original topic : about Twitter’s Notes feature. Like I’ve said above, I think it’s a good thing that Twitter finally understood you can’t develop an idea with 140, then 280, characters and permit its users to develop them with a more confortable medium. When the social medias and the micro-blogging took the majority of the users and the Forums and Blogs get deserted, I’ve though we’ve lost something. Of course, they still exists, and for a professional usage it’s always cool to find a good blog explaining things, but some disappeared. I remember some French bloggers that produced nice content deserting it in profit of social medias because it was easier for them and the centralization was an apparent good way to reach their followers (spoiler alert : nope). That’s why I’m still thankful to directories like Yer Old Blogroll where you can still find some nice content writers.
However, I’m wondering if it’s not too late for Twitter to implement this feature ? Nowadays, I have the feeling that reading a more than two lines length message on a forum or a social media became the most difficult exercice in the reader’s life. And with the video getting a major information vector, I’m wondering if Twitter’s users will be receptive to this feature. I can’t stand being always redirected to a 20 minutes video (containing 10 minutes of useless filling and product placement) when a text article can do the same in a more efficient way. But maybe that’s because I’m a grumpy old guy.