A couple of people who dislike one or more of my recent posts have explained their thinking to me via…


Why do people do that? What is the point? They could comment here, they could email me, they could (if they’re friends) talk to me on Facebook…but instead they choose the medium where you can write only 140 characters at a time.


It always fills me with a vast weariness when people do that.

  1. Blurt
  2. Blurt
  3. Blurt

Ok, now what? There are things I can say to each blurt, but what is the point? I don’t want to blurt. I want to be able to use however many characters I need for the purpose. I don’t want to engage in a dance of blurts.

So I just sigh and ignore the blurts.

Seriously, if you want to talk to me about something complicated, do it anywhere but Twitter. Twitter is the wrong damn medium for that.


  1. says

    I’m trying to think of where a good place to comment on a post at B&W might be. There ought to be some avenue by which someone can leave any number of words about a post, in a way that is directly connected to that post.

  2. says

    MrFancyPants – hmmm – that’s a tough one. Maybe people could write a letter, and mail it to Freethought Blogs c/o Ed Brayton somewhere in the US, and then I could copy the letter somewhere on this blog?

  3. says

    Email is private and in many circles viewed as invasive. I wouldn’t, as a rule, email over anything outside of business or relatives who can’t be otherwise contacted.

    Comments here are a conversation not only with you but your regular readers. They may not want to have a conversation with them. Or with you.

    By contrast, a conversation on Twitter is going to be -about- you, not -with- you. It’s a conversation with other folks in -their- circles, not yours. You can choose the join the conversation, or not, but you’re entering their space to do so. Depending on how you reply (eg, . in front), you may draw in your circles too, but doing so when you have engaged followers is an aggressive move.

  4. Emily Vicendese says

    “a dance of blurts”

    HAHAHA. I laughed out loud. Imagine the interpretative dance potential!

  5. peterh says

    I’ve consistently been of the opinion that Twitter is the wrong medium for anything .

  6. says

    HAHAHA. I laughed out loud. Imagine the interpretative dance potential!

    You officially owe me washing detergent to clean my shirt, Emily Vicendese, since I snorted Arnold Palmer out my nose upon reading that!

  7. says

    It’s all about visibility. By blurting (love that word!) on Twitter, you may not see it, your readers here may not see it, your Fb friends may not see it. But all the Twitterer’s followers, whether or not they read your blog, will see it and marvel at the blurter’s brilliance.

    And even more so if you’re so obviously dumbfounded by the blurts (what other reason could there possibly be?) that you’re rendered blurtless.

  8. says

    How about copying them into a post and answering there? Seems just as easy as writing a post belittling people who “chose the wrong medium”, and as a bonus you wouldn’t come away as a complete jerk!

  9. John Morales says

    Joerg, I have a counter-proposition for you: How about people who object to Ophelia’s blog posts do so on the actual blog posts’ comments, just as you have done?

    (Also, to what belittling do you refer?)

  10. says

    But Ophelia, this is the very point of Twitter: it gives people the ability to talk smack about others in a forum in which justification, qualification, and explanation–and never mind actually answering the various charges–are effectively impossible.

    So, kinda like an unusually/annoyingly terse show trial, come to think of it. Occasionally with linked animated gifs.

    And Joerg, they’re not symmetric media. Seems to me doing that might have the potential to be rather more obnoxious. Right. Nice tweet. Now here’s my essay. Me, I took the grumble as meta, and fair enough. But if you do happen to feel personally a bit silly for arguing on bumper stickers somewhere for some reason (hrm… counting the characters in your comment… ‘jerk’, I guess, is a good choice, at four, and hey, was that as much fun as it is on Twitter?) well, I guess we all feel dumb sometimes.

  11. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Just to clarify, I did not snort the actual person, Arnold Palmer, out my nose.

    Now I have the image of Arnie popping out of somebody’s nose, sinking a putt, tipping his cap, and wandering off.

  12. Matt Penfold says

    There is a good argument to made for making arguments about complex ideas as concise as possible. Ophelia does that. In fact maybe sometimes she is too concise, and leaves out parts of an argument she thinks is obvious but to those intent on not understanding isn’t.

    However, being as concise as possible is a long way from saying something in 140 characters.

  13. oolon says

    For someone as succinct as you I don’t understand why this is an issue. I have trouble expressing myself in only a few words. But still, for me, if it’s someone who I think I’ll learn from then they can communicate via carrier pigeon if they want, it’ll be worth it.

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