The word legitimize has some pretty powerful connotations. While researching this article I searched for the word and came across many occurrences of things in the world that were at one point not taken seriously suddenly being treated with respect. For example, one movie review claims that the film “Shame” is going to be the thing to legitimize the NC-17 rating and make it something from which movie producers will not flee in the future. The governor of Washington state recently asked the United States Government to declassify marijuana and legitimize it for medicinal usage. With the release of the most recent update to iOS, the question becomes whether their tight integration of Twitter really legitimizes Twitter as a social networking service.

I have long embraced Twitter. I love that it challenges people to encapsulate a thought or an idea and wrap it in the confines of one hundred and forty-four characters. Granted, many people just send out dozens of updates in a short amount of time, each one building on their last update, but they are of course missing the point. Let us also not forget the words of publisher David W. Boles who wrote, on the subject of Twitter,

Do you really want a blow-by-blow description of thing things that come out of me?

Is it interesting to read that sort of “dead event” logging instead of reckoning with new ideas that were freshly written to try to entice you into reading this blog?

I am concerned by the growing, lazy, trend to have the events of a life replace the invented thoughts of the day. There is a wholesale replacement of new content starting to happen in good blogs and this “Dead Blogging” got its start in the ridiculous Twittering people do today to reveal the stations of their ordinary lives.

It is definitely a shame if people completely replace their blog with a Twitter feed because that is not its purpose. I imagine Twitter as being like when you run into a friend at the supermarket and they take a photo out of their pocket and show it to you and briefly tell you about it before heading off to the cereal aisle. It’s a little update and bit of pleasantness to get you through the day.

Now Apple is making it that much easier to share that pleasant through the iPhone. When you are looking at a photo in your phone’s album, you can immediately post that photo to your Twitter account. This is just a small part of the equation. Apple has integrated Twitter into their Software Development Kit and so anyone writing any app for the iPhone can give it easy access to your Twitter account.

To me, this is tantamount to saying that Twitter is just as serious a tool of communication as e-mail. While it is true that the potential for abuse of Twitter is out there and plenty of people do abuse it — many people who are new followers to my Twitter account are spammers looking to make a quick buck — it also has great potential for beautiful, albeit short, communication.


  1. I know you’re a big Twitter fan, Gordon, but I still don’t get the idea or the purpose of the service.

    I thought Tweets were limited to 140 characters, not 144?

    When I heard Apple was embedding Twitter in iOS 5, the first thing I thought was, “Oh, no. The Kardashians have invaded my iPhone.” Twitter is to Kardashians as Bad Taste is to iOS embedding.

    I also don’t think embedding Twitter in iOS makes sense from an iMessage POV because it seems like you’re devaluing your own Apple internal messaging service with a bird.

    1. iMessaging is a person to person service, like text messaging but better. Twitter is a broadcast service and doesn’t seem to conflict at all with iMessaging. Bird is the word!

      You use Twitter for one of its purposes — sharing with the world that which you make. Think of how many people read our blog articles as a direct result of seeing that the blogs have been updated through your Twitter feed. Tis super cool.

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