I was updating my contact page just now and found myself writing “for the fastest response, try Twitter.” I wondered why that would be the case—why am I more likely to reply immediately to a tweet or DM, but it can take me weeks, months even, to respond to my email?
(I know: weeks, months, that’s ridiculous. But if you’ve written me, you know it’s true. Oftentimes, the more important the email—the more attention I’d like to give to the reply—the longer the delay.)
Then I realized: it’s Twitter’s 140-character limit that spurs me to the immediate response. It’s short and sweet, just the facts ma’am. If someone has a question, I can answer it likethat.
A thoughtful and well written email is better than a quick tweet, of course. I’m not saying I’d want to ditch email entirely—heavens no. I relish a nice long letter from a friend or reader. I love writing nice fat letters back. I wouldn’t want to confine my side of any correspondence to a tweet-sized box. But for a quick answer to a simple question? There’s a kind of liberty within the stricture of the form.
(Is that the same reason people are so fond of haiku?)
I had already fallen in love with Twitter as a source of quick answers. Throw a question into the twitstream and the answers leap at you like flying fish. Solid answers, too; keepers. But I hadn’t thought about the converse, before: that if you have a question for me, catching me on Twitter may be your best bet for an immediate answer.
I would love to explore this thought further but I have a boatload of email to answer.