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August 5, 2011 - Comments Off on The Thinking Mechanism – 8/5/11

The Thinking Mechanism – 8/5/11

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

The week in quick links:

A recent study determined the most influential person on Twitter is a Brazilian comic you've never heard of.

• The interactive trailer for BBC Earth's film One Life is fantastic.

2011 Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Main Title Design. - The best in storytelling motion graphics.

Adobe previews Edge, an HTML5 tool.

The Expressive Web is the companion showcase site to Adobe's Edge.

• Getting Bin Laden - What happened that night in Abbottabad. by Nicholas Schmidle for The New Yorker. -  "The teams had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course."

• Facebook Buys E-book Maker Push Pop Press, Plans to Integrate its Tech.

This American Life, When Patents Attack - "Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries."

March 29, 2009 - 2 comments

Confessions from the Twittersphere

I've been seeing another networking platform on the side...

Tossed to the gutter was my sexy old flame: Blogging — my occasional habitual activity of scribbling down thoughtful musings. My new sleazier and easier squeeze not surprisingly involves significantly less brain power. Twittering is fast food for the nerdling masses, but instead of increasing their waist lines, a purified and constant diet of tasty Tweets will likely shrink their brains faster than a Fail Whale caught in an updraft.

Back in the good old days of last year, people still communicated using a significant number of words and syllables to convey a complete thought — whether it was through actually jiggling their mouth parts and expelling noises with other human beings present, or through printed and later online media. Now, tapping 140 character quips is substituting once meticulously crafted ideas with “off-the-cuff” communication. Who has time with a busy schedule and diet of downloading free music, poking at a mobile device, and checking their friend count on Facebook to actually bother talking anymore?

For the people that Twitterers believe hang on their every word, they can share every thought that springs into their pointy skulls. Having a fresh cup of coffee? I must tell my followers. Sniffed a foul whiff of some particularly stinky cheese? Please, do tell the followers! Raining out; saw a squirrel; drew a fresh breath; tickled your pet toad; spotted a funny shirt or does your little tummy hurt? Please be sure to let those mysterious avatared creatures who are following your every random thought know immediately — as they must be kept in this timely loop of baboonery through your mighty Tweets.

I openly admit, I Twitter more than a geophagic licks earth. But when you share every thought, does everyone keep listening? Like the “lad who cried canis lupus”, knuckleheads who gleefully announce every single thought, lose my attention quickly. In real life, people that shout every thought that enters their skulls are not only shunned by society, but are usually referred to as “Apeshit.” However, in the world of Twitter, many of these serial chatterboxes are superstars.

For Twitter rock star Guy Kawasaki @guykawasaki, with over 21,000 updates and over 100,000 followers, Twitter is his minute by minute diary, and quite possibly, his current career until Twitter goes the way of MySpace. His endless announcements and links fuel his fans to pick up his books and line up to hear him talk (yep, talk...) about Twittering. People I'm certain, hang on his and many other Twitterers every written word, and as an indirect result, the days of expanded communication could very well be coming to an end. Who needs to have an actual conversation when you are having a conversation with hundreds and possibly thousands of eager followers?

In this age of speed and obvious lack of attention, how will magazines, books and newspapers deal with the lack of interest in expansive thoughts? They will be severely marginalized, to say the least. Newspapers are yesterday’s news. The press was a precursor to, and now a minor footnote to, full-on digital communication. Michael Wolf, columnist for Vanity Fair and the founder of news aggregator says that the newspaper is a dead medium, and I do agree. If you want a snapshot of the news, go to an online news aggregator like (oddly enough, created by Guy Kawasaki to support his endless desire to post aggregated news stories to his Twitter account). Follow trending topics on Twitter and you've got a tiny snapshot of anything that's important this second.

Not all is bad for the serial Twitterer. One of the things that makes Twitter an innovative solution is that the writer isn't expected to craft anything brilliant at all, making it an ideal solution for the largest possible user base. Depending on the Twitterer, 140 words can either be a link to an interesting story, a Re-Tweet of something someone else has already Twittered about, or if it sucks, possibly the sound of one hand clapping in a pixellized forest of sumac. Can you hear the virtual crickets as the masses embrace and virus forth with this technology on the planet? I can.

Twitter is now everywhere, which makes it very popular, and dare I say, interesting for business yet simultaneously less interesting to everyone else. John Stewart has ranted about it, CNN as well as all the major networks have reported on people, stars and politicians using it, and the CBS Morning Show did a story on it this morning. Once everyone is at the party however, it's time to find another party. Knowing that politicians are now using Twitter from the floor of Congress to send quippy notes to their reptilian minions spooks me. There’s something childish about John McCain @SenJohnMcCain Twittering "On my way to tape meet the press." It resonates with me like a high schooler talking about going to Dunkin’ Donuts. Really John, who cares?

The amazing social connections that can occur when blending Twitter with LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging, Flickr,, technorati, feedburner and other social media systems in order to build out a personally web-rounded personality is what interests me. This is where social media truly has long lasting power. Use Twitter to announce some new photos to another audience that won't necessarily see your Flickr account, for example. The goal is to merge these various social networking audiences to build a much more powerful network for yourself and to introduce people who wouldn’t have normally met in other circumstances. The most important thing if you take this advice is to make sure that you stay on message.

I'm curious about what footprint the folks who have gone full Twit and successfully abandoned other social networks will leave behind when they eventually have thought chips built in their monkey skulls, making the act of clicking a keyboard or tapping into a mobile device irrelevant for telling the masses your baby just made a potty. Google has begun to crawl Twitter blogs, but in an online society that values the immediacy of communication, I wonder how interesting what your kid burped up on Saturday will be to you or anyone in the future.

So, for the old school bloggers (holla!), perhaps there's never been a better topic to actually blog about.

One thing's for sure, I'm 6313 characters over my Twitter yak limit and you read it to the end. See, there's hope for you yet. Maybe even someday, we can have a personal conversation again, like humans used to have last year.

Dave Fletcher is the Founder / Creative Director at theMechanism, a multi-disciplinary design agency with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. Until they embed the chip into his monkey brain allowing him to communicate directly with you at any time and anywhere, you can follow his mindless quipping @davefletcher.

Published by: davefletcher in The Thinking Mechanism