short is sweet

With my morning coffee, I read an article about the new Google Buzz and its impact on membership in other social networking sites, meaning Facebook and Twitter.

And Buzz is indeed a product that’s reactionary as opposed to trailblazing. It’s Google’s biggest acknowledgment of the fact that people dig these short real-time messages and social-media sharing. It aims to take the reasons why people use Facebook, why people use Twitter, and why early adopters have started using “geo” services, and wrap them all up into a product intimately connected to its existing Gmail client.

Buzz launched on Tuesday, and over the past couple of days, we’ve been buried up to our Windows in opinion about it. My initial reaction to Buzz was “get out of my way you piece of crap, whatever you are,” because it popped up in my face while I was trying to quickly access my e-mail. It demanded to be played with, right now, like a big happy dog with a slobbery tennis ball.


My reaction since then has been that I’m interested – because I like playing with new stuff – but otherwise pretty much underwhelmed. It’s essentially a toy for g-mail users to play with, and many of the the people I know and care about don’t use g-mail. No fault of mine. Also, they couldn’t have thought of a new name? Hasn’t Yahoo Buzz been around for a while? But I digress.

And please note that I can digress, because I’m blogging. If I were Tweeting or Facebook-posting right now, I wouldn’t have room to explore a tangential thought. It’s not allowed. Which brings me to the question of the hour: why do people “dig these short real-time messages?” Because it’s fun, quick and easy, right?

Sitting down and choosing the right words and putting them in the right order to form cogent sentences and cohesive paragraphs isn’t easy. And it isn’t always fun. It’s hard work, and punctuation matters. [Language alert on that link, but it’s really funny. I just got that cartoon via Buzz.]

I’m not suggesting that my friends on Facebook can’t write. I’m saying that dashing off a quick thought, sharing a family photo or a pet, a little note on the weekend’s adventures, etc., is more fun.

In the course of writing this post – about 15 minutes, including a quick side-trip to Facebook to get ideas on how to characterize FB in the last paragraph – I’ve actually lost some of the inspiration and motivation I had for starting it. Where was I going with this? That’s part of the problem with writing: you need an idea, and the ability to hold on to it until you get at least that first shitty draft onto paper or screen. It helps to take notes.

There is a difference, I think, between posting and writing, despite the fact that this post fails to exemplify it. And If there were a good reason for continuing the exploration of this line of thought, I would have to keep plowing ahead, get the job done, express those thoughts, go back and edit and proof and publish. Thankfully, there’s not. No boss or editor is expecting this to be any better than it is. Yet I’m aware – and thankful – that if there were, I’d have the space and a few skills to try for improvement.

That would not be the case on FB or Twitter.