During one of the breaks during MIT’s Startup Bootcamp, I was talking with a friend about the presentations we had seen thus far and which we thought were the best. As we talked more about the ones we liked, we realized that there was a common thread: tweet-ability. The presentations we liked best had very few words on each slide…often much less than 140 characters and usually it was simply a picture. Looking back now a week later, the only slides I can vividly remember are ones that had either less than 10 words on the screen or were just a picture. Thinking back even further to other presentations I’ve seen in the last year, I’ve realized that the only slides I can remember also fit that description.
So what does this mean? I think it really speaks to the power of communication and Twitter’s affect on it. It started with text messages, where suddenly you could pass information to your friends in 160 characters or less, and now with Twitter, you have 140 characters or can “Twitpic” a picture to quickly share an idea or comment. This practice is being embraced everywhere…from HubSpot taking questions for their weekly shows and “Series C Webcast” today via Twitter, to Mass High Tech All Stars (according to tweets) being limited in their speeches to 140 characters or less.
So the question begging to be asked: Is this a bad thing?
I don’t think so. The shorter content is actually easier to remember, and it’s making everyone be more efficient and effective in their communications. In this information-saturated world we live in, this is a logical evolution to again allow us to communicate and understand more ideas in less time. As long as we understand when we need to add context (like blogs, books and other 140+ character communications), I think this is an important evolution in the way we communicate.
How are you embracing the Twitter-ized Society?
I totally agree with this post, and always wondered about the contribution to brevity that Twitter might make in time. Your point about presentations is a good example of this, and the reason advertising is so effective in this context is a no brainer. We have short attention spans, so we need to talk fast.
I’ve noticed that I think differently about the articles I read online, because I wonder how I can succinctly articulate the gist of the article – to either save it as a bookmark, tweet it with a link or share it on Facebook.
These communication mediums mean that you can immediately consume and redistribute information that you discover, and communicating the thrust of the info immediately is important.
Good point on article saving.
I think the future is going to become so crowded with content (imagine when the majority are using social media fully?!) that it will be essential to be as concise with ideas as possible as there will be so much to consume.
Thanks for reading!
Dig this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8.
Maybe Twitter’ll help us deal with the overload.
I really like your blog – I found it through Brazen Careerist, and maybe I’ll see you round those traps.
Glad you like it. That was an interesting video…along the lines of the one I embedded in this entry: http://jasonevanish.com/2009/10/26/what-is-the-future-of-marketing/
Anyone who can figure out how we’re going to handle all of the content, information and technological change in the coming years will do quite well. It’s definitely something I’m working to try to figure out.
Looks like a lot of it was sourced from the original ‘Did You Know?’ video. Even has the same tune. You’d certainly be well placed if you helped people manage the flow …
That’s a good point…however, I’m also a big proponent of free and open information, so any solution would have to be able to meet people’s customized voices.
…maybe someone will invent an AI that can read for us or we can plug right in and absorb stuff. You can only read so fast.
yeah, an IV drip would be nice …
approaching this with a mind for free and open information is a must, as people won’t tolerate having their content filtered by gates they can’t control. if their growing dissatisfaction with the MSM is anything to go by.
for example, i’m excited about how web highlighting is allowing us to bookmark specific information on a web page. it means that readers determine for themselves what is relevant to them. it seems like a burgeoning area for internet ventures …
I saw this flying around Twitter today and thought it relevant to this discussion:
Really Bad Powerpoint
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