Convenience Over Meaning

Who would have thought that in the same year we get a Dick Tracy communicator on our wrist, we’re electing to use communication standards of 1995 on Twitter. The “Text Shot” is surging on the service and, as a crank, it’s my least favorite fad this year.1

Text Shot

In their worst examples, Text Shots feel like pandering to the shortest of attention spans. We obviate the need to actually read an article by chunking out of context highlighted text. It provides a pass to either immediately agree or ignore the full scope of an article simply based on a highlight.2 It seems, even with links, the desire for Cliff’s Notes for Web sites, is overwhelming.

My favorite aspect of Twitter has been, and continues to be, the clever use of limited characters to make a cogent statement. The variety of communication on Twitter is rich and it’s this variety that keeps the service interesting to me. I like Emoji and animated GIFs but have no desire to join a social network entirely based on these comic methods. As usual, I assume I’m in the minority with such things and prefer a well crafted sentence to an image link.3 I sincerely hope that this latest fad is a blemish on 2015 and not a trajectory.

Group mania still surprises me for some reason. Social media fads like Tweet Storms and Text Shots catch me off guard. I’m not familiar with trending topics and I don’t pay attention to the latest memes. I’ll just continue to ignore the things that seem thoughtless or unhelpful and remember that people looking for attention also invented the faux hawk. Not everything is going to be a winner just because it stands out.

  1. I find it sadly ironic that while we have entire blog posts written about accessibility of mobile devices, the new darling of communication would have us post a screenshot of text about accessibility. ↩︎

  2. In the worst case examples, not even a clickable link is added to the Tweet. It’s an image of a single paragraph and that’s it. ↩︎

  3. There are some good apps for creating these kind of images. It’s actually quite surprising what Textshot+ or Screenshort can do simply from the iOS sharing extension. ↩︎