The deflation of words - from SMS to Twitter


The information age brought us another interesting shock - the deflation of words. Most of the people surfing the web don't have the time to stick around and read novels. They want information and they want information fast. Sometimes I even lose hope in multimedia, when I don't feel I should watch a 2 minute long video, because 2 minutes is far too much to get to the point. The point should be straight forward and the point should be reachable in ten seconds.

I really try to keep my blog posts around 4-5 paragraphs because I introspectively see how I react to information. A post more than one monitor long does look like it is well thought and scientifically supported. So, if it looks promising, I tag it with "To read". But the problem is I've never actually done it and read it. Instead, I rather look for new, actual and aggregated information.

The concentration of information started with the SMS, when a guy called Hillebrand noticed 160 characters is quite an optimal size for information. About 30 words or a few sentences. It turned out he set the standard for one of the most popular mobile services, text messaging. More than 20 years later, the history is repeating itself, and a concept called microblogging is taking over the world, with Twitter as the most noticable service. Small chunks of dense information that are suited for the sci-fi society we live in, using 140 characters.

This minimalistic approach is moving to commercial (promotional) web too. Using short and strong facts, without too much redundancy is the only way to get somebody to read how good and competitive you really are. It's an art to be able to tell a lot using a few words, but microblogging practice will surely help people to be able to express themselves briefly and effectively.

Is this fact good for culture and literature? Probably not. But it surely is good for information flow and science.

(This post has 1928 characters.)

Like what you read? Now tell the world!
Vote on Hacker News

A few more things you might find interesting:

written 26.9.2009 19:52 CET on chronolog
657 views   •   3 likes   •   6 comments  •   Like   •   

Connect with :