Can conversations actually be too small?

notebook Have social media resulted in ‘conversations’ which are so small, they’re not actually conversations at all?

Rick of Flip Chart Fairy Tales thinks this can happen, especially if Twitter is the chosen mode of communication. He quotes from Mitch Joel’s blog on The End Of Conversation In Social Media in support of his case:

■Twitter doesn’t really bring out a conversation. It’s a great place to broadcast and get some quick tidbits, but let’s face it, unless you’re creating spiritual and motivation tweets, it’s hard to have substance in 140 characters (or less – if you’re looking for a retweet).
■Even in cool arenas like the #blogchat that takes place on Twitter every Sunday night, it feels more like everyone screaming a thought at once than a conversation that can be followed and engaged with
.

There’s an irony here, perhaps; the more widely and instantly ‘conversations’ are shared, the less they may have common meaning. Instant chatter does not necessarily equate to participants deriving significant shared insight.

But is it the medium (Twitter etc), or social mores (modern expectations), which are producing these meaning-lite messages? Does the technology lead or reflect what’s happening here?
Is this a contemporary stereotypical case of comfort-contact without commitment?

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Posted on September 3, 2010, in Media and Messages and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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