Not on Twitter please

From Peter Suber
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If I referred you to this page from one of my tweets, then I'd like to follow up what we were discussing. But Twitter didn't give us the space to do it well, or even the space to talk about alternatives. — Peter Suber.


Worth discussing but not on Twitter

  • In a July 2016 blog post, I asked, "Is there a well-understood hashtag or abbreviation that means: Worth discussing but impossible on Twitter?"
  • At the time there wasn't one. I half-seriously proposed a bad one, WORDBIT, for WORth Discussing But Impossible on Twitter. I haven't used it and I'm still looking for something better. Let me know if you see a good one emerging.
  • If I had one, I'd use it in many of my Twitter threads, while linking to this page where I can explain myself.

Dialogue without oversimplification

  • I like dialogue. I like responding to questions and objections when I can, including questions or objections about my own work. But I don't like oversimplification. In fact, I like dialogue in part because it helps overcome oversimplification.
  • Hence, I don't like dialogue on Twitter. Or I don't like it once it reaches the point when serious contributions require more space than Twitter provides. For most topics worth discussing, that's very early in the process.
  • If I'm in a Twitter thread and someone asks me a question that requires a response too long for Twitter, I'd rather shift to a more accommodating platform than oversimplify or fall silent.

Shifting to a more accommodating platform

  • If I point to this page from one of my tweets, then I'm proposing one of the following paths, whichever you like best.
    1. Send me an email and I'll reply by email.
    2. If you have a blog that supports comments, post your question to your blog, let me know about it, and I'll post a comment. Or if you'd like, I could start the thread on my blog and you could post your comments there.
    • Here's an example from when I blogged at Google+. I don't have any examples from my PubPub blog, which launched in May 2020.
    • If you want the dialogue to be public, the blog option is better than the email option. It lets watch our dialogue, join in, share the URL, and so on. Our back-and-forth could be as public and participatory as on Twitter, but we wouldn't have to stultify ourselves. Moreover, the blog discussion could link to the originating tweet thread, and the tweet thread could link to the blog discussion.
  • I'm sorry if one of my tweets that brought you here seemed unfriendly. As you can see, the purpose was to invite further discussion, not shut it down. If I could modify the tweets pointing here, or modify this page itself, in order to make that clearer, I'd welcome your thoughts on how to do that.


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