The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back. Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
In my opinion, Chandlers quote is the greatest metaphor that Ive ever read in the English language. Hes taken a minor incident of human behavior that was noticed only by the targeted character and created a bold image that audaciously assaults the readers sensibility with incredible violence, both literally and figuratively. This timeless phrase, written in 1953, has not lost any of its power and wallop and would fit as perfectly in futuristic sci-fi written today as it did in Chandlers hard-boiled detective novel.
And, being less than 140 characters, Chandlers line would fit perfectly into someones Twitter stream today.
Wit Isnt Twit
As a group, Twitterers are an incredibly bright, social and generous bunch of people. Via links, they share a lot of material with the followers that range from the informative to the humorous. However, the temporal nature of the medium means that few people are attempting Twitticismsor tweets that will stand the test of time in the same manner as Chandlers phrase above.
When the ADD affected Tweeters (most of us) are scanning through our Twitter stream, we have pre-ordered expectations of what were going to see (Daily Activities, Opinions, Story Links, Humor, etc.). A Twitterer who occasionally goes against their readers expectations with a high-quality idea can cause the reader to stop and pause in their automatic scanning behavior in order to reflect upon what they just read. Much as Andy Kaufman used a series of really lame comedic sketches to set up his classic Elvis impersonation, a Twitterers normal Tweet activity can be used to make a really witty Tweet extremely effective.
One doesnt have to rely on ones own witticisms to create timeless tweets. The people you follow will give you plenty of material that you can work with.
Lee Odden is one of the most important bloggers in the online marketing space. Hes also an absolutely terrific presenter at conferences. Ive met Lee very briefly a couple times but never got a chance to say more than hello. Had I been able to chat with him, I would have treated him with a high level of respect that I feel somebody who has contributed so much to our industry deserves.
However, the Twittersphere dynamic is such that, with good intentions, I can have a little fun at Lees expense.
Though the moment is temporal, this sort of classic comic banter will make perfect sense to readers finding this thread well into the future.
Those of us who lifestream know were creating a permanent record our activities and thoughts. However, in order for folks in the future (besides yourself and your loved ones) to be remotely interested in referencing your history, you need to provide material that will make sense to them. Sure, much of your stream will, by necessity, be situational but youll have to spend some time engaging the universal in order to interest a reader totally removed from your present circumstances.