The top news story on any given day may be about President Trump’s penchant for tweeting. He expresses himself often and emphatically. He may not sing like a bird, but he tweets as frequently as one. Is the ability to tweet a thought whenever one feels the urge a good idea? Or is the use of Twitter for the birds?
A huge problem with the use of Twitter, whether by President Trump or anyone else, is that tweets have the tendency to be knee jerk reactions. The tweeter has a thought and dashes off a quick message; with the touch of a finger the message is off to be read by who knows how many people. In President Trump’s case, his over 33 million followers can view his tweeted thoughts. Unfortunately, dashing off a quick message is not always the best course of action. Who hasn’t opened his mouth and blurted something out which was regretted a short time later?
When messages are sent a more old fashioned way, there are steps which prolong the process and give the writer the opportunity to rethink what he thinks he should say. Let’s take a letter for example. Putting words down on paper takes a great deal of time and effort. Then an envelope must be procured and an address and a stamp located to place on said envelope. Finally the letter must be taken to a postal facility. Given these required actions, the writer has ample time to reconsider what has been said and perhaps even retract the message by tearing up the letter.
Time for reflection is available in a presidential message delivered in a speech. The text is reviewed and revised (censored?) umpteen times by umpteen people before being voiced by the president. A tweet, in contrast, takes only seconds to send which reduces the chance of second thoughts about the message’s contents and the possibility of revision or deletion.
Benefits do, however, exist for using Twitter. A tweet sends a message which is of necessity short due to character limitations–a maximum of 140. The writer has to get to the point immediately. There is no blathering on such as may be found in a letter, e-mail, or possibly even a blog post. No time is wasted in beating around the bush to make one’s position known. A tweet’s brevity is a plus, especially in light of our electronically crazed population’s short attention span.
Tweets are not only brief, but, as noted above, they are likely to be unfiltered and thus a more accurate reading of what the tweeter actually thinks. Something is to be said about knowing a person’s true position or feelings; you may not like it, but at least you are not trying to figure out if the person is being honest. In the case of President Trump, you are reasonably sure that the message is his own because you would not get a message resembling what you are reading if the PR people and his handlers looked it over and tweaked the tweet before it was tweeted.
For me, Twitter is a for the birds. I am an attorney and a writer, so reducing my thoughts on any topic to 140 characters or less is an excruciating task. I agonize over using just the right word or phrase. By the time I put any thought I had in tweet form, the ship would have sailed on the need to send the message. I plan to stick to voicing my thoughts and opinions in blog posts of several hundred words.