Twitter's Greatest Gift

At signEveryone often talks about the great gift that Twitter has given people. No it’s not world peace but it gives us an opportunity to stay connected like never before. It also gives marketers and PR folks a chance to connect on a level not previously thought of.

Don’t get me wrong, I think these are great additions to the world; but I tend to think that Twitter has given us so much more. Here’s the most important thing Twitter has given us:

@ and #

Think about it, two years ago I would have never thought of saying “@Tom” in an email or putting a hash tag in an emails subject line. Twitter has helped shape the way we use and structure out correspondence and thoughts. Twitter has given validation to those who love to be brief and trumpeted for those who like to get to the point.

While most people complain that Twitter is fracturing our lives I tend to think it is helping us restructure the way we look at communication. Around the turn of the century letter writing was considered the best way to communicate. Letters had to be long and complete because it could take days or weeks until your message made it to its recipient. If that person had any questions about your letter they needed to write back and that letter could also take weeks. So you made sure that the person didn’t have any questions.

Next came the telegraph and messages became shorter and more concise to the point where people started sending less complex messages but in greater frequency. It drastically changed the way people thought about messaging. One, because you had to pay for ever word, two because you could get a response in minutes not days; when radio, TV and phones enter the picture the way we sent messages changed yet again.

Much like SMS Twitter has helped us shape the way we communicate with our friends. Unlike SMS the thinking and vernacular of Twitter has begun to reach out to other mediums.

The amazing thing is that I receive correspondence from people who don’t use Twitter still using these symbols the same way they would use them Twitter. The idea of being that direct has started crossing over from Twitter to the rest of the communication world.

Do you use @ and # outside of the scope of Twitter? Do you think using short sentences and symbols is good for communications? Let me know.

Anthony LaFauce is an Account Manager at FaceTime Strategy, a regular contributor of content around the web, tech enthusiast and a nice guy.