Tweets, Grunters & Grimacers
Every day, it seems like online communication is devolving into ever more succinct, real-time “bursts” of information.
Other bloggers have noted this phenomenon as well:
Perhaps [Twitter] is just the first step. The text-based Twitter will be replaced with an audio-based “Grunter.” Rather than spend a full 140 characters, you have your choice of 10 gutteral grunts registering surprise, anger, sadness, joy, etc. Then we can move to the next phase: Grimacer. Just pictures depicting how you feel.
–Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture
Personally, I think it’s more analogous to physics.
First there were blogs, which would be the equivalent of molecules.
Then came Twitter (and “tweets”), which would be the “atoms” of the online world.
For awhile, that was it; nothing was supposed to be more elemental than atoms.
Of course, physicists went on to discover all manner of sub-atomic particles, including quarks, electrons, and neutrino’s (this effectively exhausts my physics vocabulary).
So, perhaps Ritholtz is right.
P.S.: Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident, tells an anecdote about how he and his fellow prisoners killed time while enduring long stretches of solitary confinement. Through Morse code, they would take turns “telling” their favorite jokes.
As the years went by, everyone knew everyone’s repertoire by heart. So, instead of tapping the whole joke, they would just tap the punch line. Eventually, even that became truncated. So, one prisoner would tap to the others: “[joke] #37.”