Thursday, 14 January 2016

Filling the void

Filling the Void
by Siv Parker

Whispering through a keyhole from behind a locked door, hoping the passing foot traffic pauses and wonders where the sound came from.  
That’s how it feels to open an account on Twitter.  It can take more time than people feel is worth spending, to build an account and a profile.  

Twitter knows this is a deterent to people joining the micro blogging platform. The CEO of the social media (SM) platform recently announced it was thinking hard about increasing the size of a tweet from a whisper of 140 characters to an almost unimaginable, shouty 10,000 characters. 

Of those who cared – and not everyone does - the reaction from people at home on Twitter looked a lot like this.

I can go either way.  Being confined to 140 characters makes a person's writing tight.  I like the challenge of telling a yarn in tiny bites.
My pitch: Using modern technology to share the world's oldest culture 
It took me a while to adjust to the basics of communication when I moved to work in the remote parts of Australia.  In a recent account from a student doctor's first time to the Northern Territory, they mentioned the difficulty in adjusting to the silence, to feeling like she didn’t have to talk all the time.

Some people never savvy the silence.  When I read reports and inquiries into Indigenous issues, I can see where the silence has been filled with the researcher's voice, their life experience, their determination to stamp out what vexes them.  

In my travels north, once I adjusted to the feel of silence, it grew from a small space between me and the people I met.  It got wider, deeper. 

And it made me think about what noise I made to disturb the silence.  What I put out there would hang there.  Uncomfortably so, if I wasn't careful.

A tweet will hang in the air as well.  That wont change if the tweet box expands to 10,000 characters. 

It is possible to have a conversation in short grabs. 

After all, these days that is how many of us are now consuming the news sites.  It’s become all about the headline, the first paragraph, maybe a quote that’s pulled out.  Sure read to the end, no one is stopping you.  But increasingly, if a news story can’t make it work in the first eye grab, what lies beneath the neck isn’t going to be seen.  

Shallow?  Probably coincided about the same time as the emojis appeared.  Tweets became emotional, just by adding a tiny yellow face.  Timelines became a flicker festival, when we also realised that adding an image guaranteed a tweet would be read 82% of the time.

For those mortified at the thought of not reading to the end of an article, they’re going to love 10,000-character long tweets. So long as we can have the choice of a fast lane too – block the caravans and the people movers - everyone will be happy.

Ye olde days of twitter, a conversation went like this….

Income management (IM) is where a percentage of a person's social security, Abstudy and family assistance payments are withheld from them and placed in an income management account in their name. A basics card is attached to this account.
IM is highly contentious and safe to say, @iMusing and I come at it from different perspectives. That is not an easy conversation in a series of 140-character boxes.

I think there is more to IM than meets the eye.  But it continues to be a difficult debate.  I appreciate writers of intelligence and integrity who take an interest in analysis - and for this reason I retweeted a recent post on iMusing's blog.  

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