twittering or frittering?

Birds on wires
Image by rkramer62 via Flickr

Birds perched on a telephone wire busily chirp away….twittering to pass the time. People perched on their chairs tweet away…mostly frittering (aka wasting) time with their latest random thought. Or maybe not.

I’m not a big tweeter and yet I can see it changing the world from seeding and feeding political movements to providing collective commentary on topics both crucial and trivial. It is a megaphone of ideas distilled to their 140 character essence.

But is it art? I just discovered a tweeter who has reduced recipes to tweets and published 1000 of them in Tweet Eat. It’s clever  but is it adding to human knowledge or just regurgitating recipes in a gimmicky format?

Everything can’t be reduced to 140 characters without impacting the thrill of language and metaphor. Shakespeare can be tweeted but it’s no longer literary: “Boy from gang loves girl from rival gang. Families aghast and against. Boy climbs balcony to profess love.  Both end up dying badly. Families mourn.” It doesn’t quite do Romeo and Juliet justice or is that West Side Story? Hard to tell. When distilled to its essence, it’s not literature anymore though I’m sure someone out there is tweeting the classics as I write.

What makes us human is our desire for expressing ourselves deeply, uniquely and memorably in ways that transcend time and place. Will any tweets linger long past the moment of utterance? Will the world note or long remember what we tweeted here? I think not.

Twittering or frittering? What do you think?

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