Not by Twitter: Fat Language and the Dying of Twitter
I hear from Umair Haque Twitter is dying. While I mourn, I am relieved. It is often so with Death, especially so when the Life involved has been deeply appreciated and no guilt arises.
I have appreciated Twitter from afar. Late to the party, my Boomer age held me against the screen, a flattened face looking to attain digital shape, as my one good eye peered toward what the digitali promised: group, belonging, pride, attainment, success and oh yeah, money. I have crept lately into the spaces between words and learned to think in 140 character synopsis, snappy and fresh, although I confess to still sieving the whole hashtag heaven thing through my holed mind. Now I’m told Twitter is Dying.
If not dead by the time you read this. And I for one take the space, a little breath between the nanoseconds to step back and realize: Twitter, we never truly, personally met. Although rumours of your prowess at achieving my earthly goal of a paradise of delights abound(ed) from every corner, my need for language and concepts that are broad and large, descriptions that require pages, dialogue that continues to parse and parry, never quite jived with your demand I know what I am saying before I say it.
As a writer, as a trained teacher of writing, I know that writing requires lots of words. It’s a simple formula, I realize, but one that seems to work. Communication, the pundits expound, is only 7% words and the rest eye contact and body language, emotionally held tones, none of which conform to your skinny, fashionable, ever ready everywhere design-a-thought format.
Too fat by language, my process of articulation staggers along, unkempt, cluttered, unwieldy, a homeless person with a stuffed shopping cart of dictionaries, thesauruses, hard copy books on grammar, E.B.White essays, and all the writers I ever loved who lived, poor dears, far before the Twitter Realm with its magical promise came to pass: Taylor Caldwell, Elizabeth Gouge, Betty Smith, Steinbeck, Faulkner et al.
So you are dying Twitter and your death signals a great event, even as crowds flood to other platforms. Crowds flood to other platforms like Medium and Daily Medium and will continue to do so until the crowd size grows to cancerous proportions and eats its host. That is the nature of digital platforms so Twitter, while I mourn your passing, I am relieved. I feel the lightness of your demands lifting from me as I pull my face from the screen, grab my cheeks in my human hands and let my fat language flow.