Revision [6804]

This is an old revision of TwitterProjectMTH made by MadelineHenry on 2010-05-03 03:36:33.

 

PROJECT DIARY, PT. 1, APRIL WHATEVER, 2010: Currently typing notes from E-Rhetoric class, second-to-last of semester. Exigence: an imperfection in one's life characterized by a symbolic action. Bear in mind: Project is meant to characterize the rhetorical situation of an array of tweets by a focus, whether it be on exigence, ethos, or some other element of traditional rhetoric. Keep commentary interpretive and analytical.

personal notes: Last week's inability to get up and head to class (due to a screwed-up sleep schedule punctuated by random illness) has been particularly regrettable, since this feels like a course I could've really connected with. Not that I expect it'll hurt my final project -- last week also showed that I have a knack for putting out amazing work when the chips are down -- but it would have been fantastic to participate more in class. Maybe next semester, when I get my driver's license (and a car to use it with).

Unlike most other classroom participants, I have hell of Twitter experiences which can be drawn upon to a distinct and clear advantage. I feel like I could whip up a PowerPoint presentation about this material in the span of twenty minutes, but this comes at the cost of having most of my perceptions about Twitter's rhetorical situation already defined for me. Remember to ground arguments with amazing sources. Cite page numbers, even!

So, the first thing needed is to choose some people to focus on. I have a sizable suite of quirky celebs, creative Internet types, crazy furries, and random dudes to pick from. Others may choose Roger Ebert or Conan O'Brien; I have others.

People to report on (just as examples):


~Off-the-cuff notes section:~ This is what I think of Twitter! Time to arrange my thoughts in a simplistic fashion, and blow everyone's minds with my perceptive reasoning even at this early stage. Now would definitely be a time to note that these self-referential monologues will be left on the wiki in one form or another, though I may drop them into a separate page for the sake of professionalism and clarity. At this point I've read up to part 10 of the Sagolla book (author's name spellchecked via a glance at a neighbor's book), with the rest to follow soon; this has given me the superhuman ability to identify tweets by certain characteristics, though I can't recall any off the top of my head. I'll consult my Kindle edition sometime between now and 10 minutes before the final presentation to give myself some perspective.


PROJECT DIARY, PT. 2, PROBABLY ALMOST MAY NOW: Prof. Morgan just approached me as I shamefully walked into class five minutes late! Final is May 5th, 2010, which I know is a week or so from the time of this entry. I don't have to present, since I'm working alone -- which takes away a fair amount of the pressure this project can exert on my rugged frame, but comes at the cost of not getting to display my spectacular insights to those in this class who clearly have better things to do than develop a certain level of savvy in relation to Internet topics. Having just delivered a functional prototype of Battleship for my Computer Science class, a swank presentation about Electronic Arts to Intro to Business, and a brilliant watercolor piece to Visual Foundations I, this project is practically the only thing left for me to blow out of the effin' water this semester.

Sagolla book has been finished, though I've neglected to bring elements of it into the project just yet. In fact, if you asked me right now to come up with one concise point the book made, I would shuffle uncomfortably in my chair until you got the message and moved on to some other topic. I'll be remedying this over the course of the next week. I've decided to continue my focus on ethos (character), since this is the topic that fascinates me the most; ProWebPresenceProject illuminated for me the idea that anyone with a creative presence on the Internet has a public identity to maintain, in order to ensure that he or she is seen as having their desired level of credibility. In this sense, Twitter can serve as a massive benefit.

Twitter is often referred to as a "microblog", but can also be perceived as an alternative to instant messaging. Imagine you found a brilliant burrito place in your immediate vicinity, and decided you had to spread the word to all your friends and help this business you've decided you love. Before Twitter, your course of action was to either call or instant-message your friends individually, or send out a single e-mail to a group of friends (which many people don't check very frequently). Now, you can just issue a public update to your Twitter account: "ATTENTION, ALBANY RESIDENTS: Bros Tacos, on the corner of Morris and Ontario, serves bombtastic mission-style burritos at brilliant prices." (example: Greenspeak.) Suddenly, there it is, out in the open for everyone (or every one of your followers) to see, and thanks to the immediacy of the format, you can tweet this discovery from your cell phone at the place itself, while waiting for your food to cook!

This sounds like a digression about the wonders of technology, but it's leading to a point, and that point is this: Where in other formats you would be required to contact an array of specific people, Twitter has the benefit of being only as public as you want it to be. Topics that were once only kept in private communication archives attached to AOL Instant Messenger accounts are now freely available to be looked at anywhere. On the Internet, it's difficult to strike up a conversation with many professionals, since they typically cannot be readily contacted for a friendly chat unless you either already know them personally or do something noteworthy that gains their attention. If that professional wants to communicate with his or her fanbase, their options are limited; they can put up a blog, send out an e-mail to a mailing list, or send out a tweet and let everyone know what they're up to. Because the format has a certain level of personal communication to it, it gives the impression that he or she is initiating a dialogue with their fans, and even allows those fans to message them right back.

PROJECT DIARY PT. 3, UH (glances) MAY 3RD, 1:54 AM: From today forward, my schoolwork will be devoted exclusively to this project until the instant everybody's reports are read.

PROJECT DIARY PT. 4, MAY 3RD, 4:39 AM: My keyboard spontaneously disintegrated in front of me! The loaner from my roommate appears to be clad in all manner of toxic substances, but the project must rage on. Let's discuss, now, the 'form' of the tweet.

General Form:

Thanks to the technological limitations of SMS services, tweets take up 140 characters of the 160 available in a standard text message; the remaining characters are taken up by usernames and possibly other metadata. If you use the website or a Twitter application on your computer/handheld computing device, however, you can send more data along with your tweet. This is typically used to create a link to someone you've decided to respond to, if your tweet contains a response (example here, 'in reply to tabbiewolf'), which contributes nicely to the notion that Twitter can be used not just to update, but to converse. Websites exist to artificially extend this limit (TwitLonger is an example), but though they can occasionally have 'legitimate' uses -- the natural compactness of many Asian languages makes it a valuable resource when translating tweets that were 140 characters long in their native language (example) -- they are rarely used as such.

But why? Well, it requires you to click a separate link to read more, and that's a pretty big turnoff if you want your message to be read by an audience on a website typically suited to absorbing information in microblog-formatted messages. I am certain, however, that even if Twitter messages could be 250+ characters long, the format itself would suffer immensely! Twitter's 140-character limit does more than encourage brevity in communicating concepts; it also caters to an audience's need to see the current status of a person without being hindered by superfluous language or the overwrought restatement of key issues. "You. Okay, now you. You next. Oh, you installed Ubuntu? How sad." This rapid-fire effect enables followers to follow more accounts, and stay current with a larger amount of people in a smaller frame of time. Brevity creates a social sphere.

- Links

- Account Names

- Content

- Etiquette

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