Twitter = online pointillism

Georges SeuratI finally get it, what makes Twitter so popular. Here I was afraid I was just too old. Whew, I feel much cooler now.

Never heard of it? No worries, you too can be cool and in-the-know.

Twitter is a site where you post what you are doing. Right now. In 140 characters or less (about the length of this paragraph).

You can pick people to “follow” so you see what they are doing. You may have people follow you as well. You can tweet from your phone, to make updates from the road. You can even post your tweets on Facebook and other social networking sites, to keep your entire online life organized all in one place for your friends’ convenience.

At first glance, this may seem like some sort of bizarre ADD-inspired site, for those who need an excuse to change focus every few minutes. Individual comments have little to no meaning.

But actually, if all your friends are on it – which is true for the younger generation – they can see, at a glance, who’s busy and who might be free to do something fun. No need to call friends one by one.

That’s not the only use, however. Tweet for business, and suddenly your staff have insight into how you spend your day and what’s important to you. Tweet about specific hobbies or your career, and others who share that interest can see what a day in your life is like.

Twitter has even been used for online games, like Color Wars 2008. Consider it a social experiment, not a game with a traditional start and finish. That one, I admit, I still don’t completely understand.

Georges Seurat zoomI’m looking at Twitter now as a micro-blog, where the comments make sense in the context of a bigger picture, whether it’s someone’s hobbies, their life, their perspective. Twitter reminds me of a trend I learned back in art history, called pointillism. It was made famous by Georges-Pierre Seurat’s painting shown above. At right is a close-up where you can see that it’s made up of colored dots. The dots, individually, make no sense, but when viewed collectively, as part of a larger picture, it makes up a gorgeous work of art.

Suddenly Twitter, viewed as part of a larger picture, makes a lot more sense to me.
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2 thoughts on “Twitter = online pointillism

  1. So I’m guessing Seurat knew what he wanted outcome he was working toward – he knew what image he was creating and had a plan for making it happen. If every tweet is a pixel of our life will the big picture show us what image we’re creating?

  2. Hi, Wendy and Dixie –

    I can see the pointillist comparison. And, to Dixie’s point, I think you have to have a picture of what you’re trying to accomplish with your Twitters. I’m just getting to the point where I’m figuring that out.

    I think of it more like snapshots – except you control what you display. Which is not to say that someone couldn’t post your nudie photos on flickr and then post a link to them on Twitter. (I’ve never seen this happen, but I’m thinking that it could.)

    It’s not a movie of your whole life, though. Also I un-follow people who Twitter message after message to get around the character limit. So I think you have to use it judiciously.

    My $.02 (I don’t have a cents sign on my computer. Sign of the times, I guess). 🙂

    Here’s my Twitter address —

    See ya’

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