Why I think twitter is such a powerful platform.

The gimmick of twitter has always been the message limit. A “Tweet” has a maximum length. Any more than that and you have to break it up into separate pieces. This, knowingly or unknowingly had an immense effect. People still need to express complex and detailed ideas, but because of the limit, they need to be more creative. It causes this sort of surreal crystallization effect where its genuinely astonishing how complex of an idea can be represented so succinctly. Let me just give you two examples I think about often.

“Guy who has only seen The Boss Baby, watching his second movie: Getting a lot of ‘Boss Baby’ vibes from this…” -@afraidofwasps

Take a second to remark here. What the actual message is, as I took it, was that your criticism of any work of art can never be independent, in a vacuum. It is always somehow influenced by all work you have previously consumed, good or bad. This guy has only seen one movie, so all the movies look the same to him. Boss Baby is also an exception example because its a movie knowingly without intellectual value, a shameless hollywood cash grab (and thats okay). I think about this tweet all the time. It has been etched into my subconscious. Anytime I have to evaluate the validity of criticism it wretches forward. It has made me more empathetic, and more understanding of others viewpoints. Even if I don’t agree with another viewpoint, I could understand the logical decisions a person made to reach that point. Maybe they’ve only seen Boss Baby.

Annette Kolodny in “Dancing Through the Minefield”, a feminist literary critique, puts it better than I ever could:

” Frequently our reading habits become fixed, so that each successive reading experience functions, in effect, normatively, with one particular kind of novel stylizing our expectations of those to follow, the stylistic devices of any favorite author (or group of authors) alerting us to the presence or absence of those devices in the works of others, and so on. “Once one has read his first poem,” Murray Krieger has observed, “he turns to his second and to the others that will follow thereafter with an increasing series of preconceptions about the sort of activity in which he is indulging. In matters of literary experience, as in other experiences,” Krieger concludes, “one is a virgin but once.”

Philosophers have spent centuries on exposition with no care I can think of who can understand it. The target audience is their own contemporaries. To rediscover ideas like this, its borderline archaeology. They might as well all be written in latin. If you want your point to be easily understood by many, you need a crystal; a boss baby tweet.

Heres another example, this one is a crystal on accident:

“Between B*rnie, my ex-wife, the tenant from hell, and general chumpfuckery, this has been a cromulent fuckcrustable of a day. Tommy need drinky.” -@TomJorgensen12

Theres so much here! We have some random dude whining on the internet about several things, lets perform some surgery, some psychoanalysis.

Between B*rnie,

Bernie Sanders probably didn’t do anything to this guy physically on that date. He was probably in the news and Tom decided to let a headline emotionally effect him. The use of * here is so people won’t search for Bernie and find his tweet. Even though this was a public tweet, this feels like a subconscious admittance he does not want to confide about his day publicly.

my ex-wife,

Tom is divorced. Someone thought he was deserving of love, and then realized they were wrong. Its a stretch here, but I would doubt the ex-wife did anything significant, or it would garner its own tweet. Like if she stabbed him he probably would forget about Bernie really quick, and the whole tweet would be about that as the focus. We can assume its probably mundane, like not paying alimony or something.

the tenant from hell,

Tom is a landlord. As a similar argument, the tenant probably didn’t do anything significant, or it would have absorbed the attention. The tenant-landlord relationship, from experience, always involves the tenant asking the landlord to fix a sink or something for weeks, and the landlord not doing that. Heres where the crystallization can occur. The sentence builds on it self, like a roller coaster. At this point, a reader has “Between B*rnie, my ex-wife, the tenant from hell-“. The brain immediately goes into pattern matching mode. Are these things related? Did Bernie steal his wife? Did he and his wife disagree about Bernie? Is the tenant with Bernie?

and general chumpfuckery,

Imagine paying rent to someone who says this. At this point in the sentence, the idea is “How is someone old enough to be a divorced landlord, but not mature enough to still speak like this?”

this has been a cromulent fuckcrustable of a day.

Tom is incorrectly using the word cromulent, and I only know that because I had to look it up. Lets go through Toms day. He read a headline and had two obligated social interactions, thats it. Its 8:30PM and has he even done any work? Its obvious from a length perspective a reader would be like “Thats it? whiner”, so he pads it with nonsense. Ill repeat: Imagine paying rent to someone who talks like this.

Tommy needy drinky

Tom is an alcoholic. Not only does he abuse alcohol as a coping mechanism for a mildly inconveniencing day of not doing any real work, but he infantilizes himself. Hes not exicted to get drunk, he needs that whisky like a baby needs its bottle. He might start crying and wailing if he doesn’t get it. The crystallization ends here in a finale. Did his ex wife leave because hes a drunkard? Or was it because he talks like a child and thinks saying fuck is cool? Who can really say.

To conclude

There are more tweets like this, upon reading I take psychic damage. Like giving a hot cheeto to a small victorian child. The sheer fact such a complex idea can be so incredibly compressed is always suprising, but looking closer, its maybe not so. From The Onions “How To Know What Words Mean - Troublehacking with Drew Cleary”, a satirical video (itself, a kind of crystal):

“Hey y’all Drew Cleary with Troublehacking here. Today I am going to show you how to hack symbolic language and assign meaning to objects. Lets hack it! First thing you want to do is choose a thing you want to represent, and I am going to choose this. [he is grabs a toy horse] Its a four legged creature with a long back. Eats grass and it has hooves. But we haven’t hacked a name for it yet, thats step two. So I am going to assign a word represent this object, which means that when I say this word, your mind will call to mind this animal, HORSE. HORSE. So were agreeing that this is a HORSE. We’ve just assigned abstract sound to a natural phenomenon thats much much more complicated than the sound itself. Pretty cool right? You can see that language is just an agreement that we all have about which sounds and symbols represent which real world objects. But this is actually a HORSE. Thats crucial. HORSE doesn’t exist. Its just the word that we used to represent this thing. Its just a name that we assigned to it. If we weren’t around to name it, it would still exist, but would it be? It would be it. We couldn’t talk about it without assigning a word for it. So words are like splashing paint on an invisible person. They’re what we need to conceive of whats there. But the shape that the paint forms isn’t actually the person, its just a representation of our reality. In fact, words are just one of the many mental images that we use to understand reality. But we never actually experience reality. Our experience is like a shadow of the true thing. We can understand what these things are like, we can even predict what they’ll do. We must understand that by defintion, our reality must be incomplete. Its not until that infintesminal moment before death, when our minds open up and in the span of fraction of a fraction of a moment in time, are overwhelmed with the true reality. Alright that was really really fun. Thanks for watching. Hope this helps, I don’t do this for the money, I just do it for the fame. Byebye. “

Drew here is, sort of crystallizing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, but I bring it up for the point. “Boss Baby Vibes” and “Tommy Needy Drinky” are phrases of just three words. If you suppose we agreed on what these meant, in the Drew Cleary sense (and we might not, before this, they may have been unintelligible sentences to you), then we have compressed even more incredibly complex ideas to just its reference. Classic literature and media has always had these references. “There are four lights”, or “Big Brother”. Maybe those who are terminally online will develop a syntax full of language pointers like this, but totally unintelligible to those not terminally online.