Blog

Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

Twitter imposter syndrome

Sometimes twitter can be quite depressing, but not in the way that you’d expect. No, I am not one of those people who lacks self control and get absolutely entrenched into twitter flame wars and arguing matches on for hours on end. I am a nobody; my follower count as of this writing, after nearly a decade on the platform, stands at 186. Half of those I’m convinced are bots.

The thing about the twitter that depresses me is the sheer amount of intelligence on display. The reason I can’t quit the platform even though it’s one of my biggest time-sucks is because I learn so much from so many people, from all areas of life. The sheer knowledge and the way people can articulate it within the framework of 280 words per single tweet is something I am in awe of almost every day. Nowhere do I feel more like an imposter than on twitter, where everyone seems to be and probably is smarter than I am.

That’s not exactly a negative - I learn plenty from those people ,after all - but it does make me doubt my own abilities and knowledge sometimes.

I have to remind myself the witty and eloquent people on my feed have immensely more experience than I do, and their smarts don’t invalidate my current standing - we’re simply on different life levels. Those people have been immersed in their respective industries for decades, so of course someone like me in his early 30s isn’t going to have remotely comparable knowledge or eloquence. My false move is equivocating a similar standing between myself and the people I follow. With enough hard work and continued learning, I will get to the same level someday and be a wizened master dishing out tactics and qualified opinions.

I mustn’t skip ahead of myself.

Back in my early college days when I was active in a local car club, everyone else seemed to be driving far cooler cars than my lowly Toyota Corolla, or people with the same car had more modifications and extra bits on theirs than mine. The inadequacy I felt was intense, being so one-track minded (and very immature) that I failed to detach from the situation and see that those with more/better were simply further in stages of life. Of course the fully-realized adult with a full-time job is going to have a far nicer vehicle than me who’ve only started university.

A decade later I am able to detach and look at the macro view, but sometimes I still want to run before I’ve fully learned walking.

A rainy day for SMU commencement.

Twitter's 280 character limit

Yesterday twitter expanded the 280 character limit to everyone after a soft rollout. We can all now tweet twice as long. In place of the word counter inside the text window is a circle that fills up as your type. Fascinating. 

I hate the change. 

280 character tweets is TL:DR status. Perhaps more of an inditement of my outrageously short attention span, but my eyes automatically gloss over these longer tweets. If the first 10 words don't capture my attention then I move the heck on.  

The twitter timeline with these long tweest starts to resemble the Facebook feed, and that's never a good thing. 

I like twitter because it's quick, concise, and to the point. Trying to articulate well within the old 140 character paradigm was downright artful. Shakespeare and Mark Twain both were fans of brevity. Countless times I was up against the limit and had to prune/revise what I wanted to say - it was excellent practice. Sadly, wont' have to do that anymore. 

And it isn't like twitter will ever go back: can't take the cake away once you've given it. 

I hope this one time jump to 280 will be the end of it. At 280 it's already looking less like what twitter should be - with character-based languages like Korean it's practically an essay; any more increases it might as well be tumblr. 

 

Twitter has a new 280 character limit

I take off for work at 2pm on most days and it takes about a half hour to drive to campus on the other side of the city. Today as I am walking to the office from the parking lot, I come to find out that Twitter has finally increase its per-tweet character limit from 140 to 280. You know, some days you drive to work and subsequently the entire Twitter paradigm shifts seismically. 

Like most changes to our social media platforms of choice, it's going to take some time to get used to the new character limit, and therefore to form a proper opinion. At first blush, the jump to 280 seem rather overboard (why not 200 for a try first?), one where Twitter users in Asia can exploit to the maximum. It was already unfair that a singular Chinese or Korean word counts as one character on the platform, meaning while it takes six characters worth to tweet out 'father' in English, in Chinese all it takes it one: '父'. With this new 280 limit, I can type an entire Korean essay in one tweet.

Mark Twain had to apologize for the lack of brevity in his letters; of course it's immensely difficult to truncate and be precise in the written word. It's infinitely easier to simply keep writing as the thoughts flow from the mind to the fingers. Twitter's now retired 140 character limit was a great motivator to be concise with what we wanted to convey. Yes, threaded replies have largely made that motivation irrelevant, but for singular tweets the virtue holds true. With the new 280 limit, I'm not sure it does anymore.

I attempted a few tweets after the change and it's as if there's no character limit at all: I've been so conditioned to 140 that I currently can't fathom needing to fully utilize the 280 potential. Time to tell, for sure.