Is Twitter Turning us into Twits?

Twitter is a free service that allows people to send out messages, known as “tweets,” to “followers,” people interested in receiving those messages.

Through the magic of Twitter, I found out, this morning, that my cousin in Wisconsin
is offering specials at his piercing salon, that a friend of mine watched 60 Minutes and had compassion for a repentant Agassi, that my niece in Minnesota has a lot of homework and is unhappy about it, that my mom enjoyed her friend’s variety show in Tucson, and that a therapist colleague quoted Steven Covey commenting about our need to take a different approach if we desire a different outcome.

In it’s current incarnation, Twitter restricts the length of tweets to 140 characters. If you haven’t already tried, you might be surprised to find out how difficult it is to express yourself when limited in that way. The following quote, from William Shakespeare, goes 23 characters over the limit.

“Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

If you think Shakespeare is long-winded, consider the Preamble to the Constitution, weighing in at 329 characters.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Finally, from The Bible, this is almost long enough to form 3 separate tweets:

“Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.”

If you tried to “tweet” the above sentiments, you might end up with something like the following:

Shakespeare: * OMG, I had such a good time tonite! I totally love you! I can’t wait ’till
tomorrow. Bye!
* I luv u!!! Kbye, c u 2moro
* <3. BRB

Preamble: *The US wrote the Constitution for unity, justice, tranquility, liberty,
posterity, to defend ourselves, and make us happy.
*We wrote this Constitution to make thngs ROCK!
*Howz this?

Bible: *Luv iz awsum!!!!11!!!
*If u luv me, chill!
*Love 🙂

Somehow, I can’t help thinking that the originals really lose a great deal when we try to compact them into 140 characters. If we quit trying to say anything elaborate and limit ourselves to 140 characters, will we eventually become a race of idiots who no longer have anything of substance to say?

Or, on the contrary, will we become brilliant enough to distill the intricacies of romance, interpersonal dynamics, and imagery down to text-sized chunks?

I would say more, but I’m already over this article’s 500-word limit. LOL!

Dr. Marlo Archer is a licensed psychologist specializing in working with kids, teens, and their families. She can be reached at or 480-705-5007. Follow Down To Earth Enterprises on Facebook or DrMarloArcher on Twitter.

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