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 properly, or even the space to talk about alternatives.


Worth discussing but not on Twitter

  • In a June 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 not on Twitter"), but I haven't used it and I'm still looking for something better. Let me know if you notice a good one emerging.
  • If I had one, I'd use it in most of my Twitter discussions, 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, especially questions or objections about my own work. But I don't like oversimplification. In fact, I like dialogue in part because it helps us avoid or 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 than 140 characters. For most interesting dialogues, 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, here's what I'm proposing:
    1. Either send me an email and I'll reply by email...
    2. Or post your question to Google+, let me know about it (on G+ I'm +petersuber), and I'll reply to your post. Or if you'd like, I could start the thread on my own G+ account and you could reply there. If the dialogue started on Twitter, naturally the G+ posts could link back to it, and the Twitter posts could link to the G+ discussion.
  • The advantage of G+ over email is that others could 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.
  • I know this kind of public, unrestricted dialogue could also take place on FB. But I've deliberately deleted my FB account, and recommend that you do the same. Let's not go there. For reasons that are similar but not as strong, I don't use LinkedIn. I know this kind of dialogue could also take place on other social-media platforms like Diaspora or Mastodon. I hope that one of them or some newer alternative takes off and becomes better for this purpose than G+; but they haven't done so yet.
  • I'm sorry if one of my tweets that brought you here seemed abrupt or unfriendly. As you can see, the purpose was to invite further discussion, not to shut it down. If I could modify the tweets that point here, or modify this page itself, in order to make that clearer, I welcome your ideas.


Return to my Twitter feed (@petersuber).

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