I know people who simply lurve twitter. It’s the new cool thing! It’s a microblog! Follow your friends! It’s internet poetry! I wanted to get it, really, but it wasn’t quite working for me. What would be the circumstance wherein I’d want to read such short, of the minute posts? I like the lengthy, meandering blog post, after all. Preferably with pictures!!
But then (and you knew this was coming, right?), I happened upon Slate’s Olympic coverage via Twitter. You would think that there’s nothing else to be said about the Olympics right now. I love me some televised competitive swimming, but this is just getting ridiculous. The whole world knows Michael Phelps’ torso measurement, as well as what he has for breakfast—because it’s on CNN. Fashion magazines are covering beach volleyball; Perez Hilton is tracking medals and opening ceremony cover-ups, for crying out loud. In this climate of neverending sports-cum-nationalism information flow, what kind of coverage could we possibly be missing?
Enter the fabulous one-liner. A few choice quotes:
Slate’s coverage of Dara Torres informing the judges to wait for the Swedish swimmer to change her torn swimsuit; an event heralded as the apotheosis of sports ethics on NBC, merits this tweet: “Torres pointing out the Swede’s torn swimsuit is the greatest act of Olympic sportsmanship since Lochte gave Phelps half his sandwich.”
On the controversial win for Michael Phelps’, wherein he touched the wall 1/100 of a second before the Serbian swimmer. Some cry conspiracy, and Slate’s tweet reads: “No conspiracy, Phelps just has the ability to alter space-time. That’s what he’s doing with that dolphin kick.”
Suddenly, Twitter makes perfect sense to me. It’s the transcendental medium for the one-liner, and I prefer the ones that are sarcastic shots over the bow, capable of puncturing the balloon of teary-eyed national sentiment and/or athletic fetishism. In feed form, the tweets are reminiscent of those magical conversations with your smartest friends, whose reactions to absurd events reduce you to tears of laughter.
The Twitter folk position their application as one in which users answer the question “What are you doing?” I can help but wonder whether a better use might be to answer the question “What are you seeing?”