Yep, Twitter is ruining the conversation. But not because everyone talks in short burst text speak now. No, that's fine. That old Danish guy once said something about brevity, souls, and wit, and he was right. What's ruined the conversation is folks who can't speak the language trying and failing, in embarrassing and sometimes even creepy fashion, to participate. Politicians, corporations, those kinds of folks. The Internet conversation is a self-eating entity, it's ephemeral and mercurial and sentiment can often completely reverse without warning. It's tricky water to navigate; you have to be sharp and self-aware to avoid ridicule and scorn, and that's hard. Too hard, it seems, for goofy politicians and cookie companies.
And yet they try nonetheless, with either self-deprecating acknowledgment of mistakes or gaffes, or trying to cleverly get out ahead of something that needs no getting out ahead of. (There's no way to win at Royal Baby, Oreo. The Super Bowl thing was a fluke.) This new form of awkward, and maybe insidious twittering — maybe social media's version of embarrassing dad dancing, except with something sinister behind it —has most recently been employed by none other than the Weiner campaign, no stranger to faux affability in the face of something darker. It gives us the gross, unsettling sense that, right now, somewhere there's very likely a group of grown adults sitting around trying to figure out how to most winsomely and wittily cool down a mini-scandal with a cute tweet.