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Here’s the thing: Twitter sucks for arguments:

  • It is almost impossible to follow conversation threads
  • People favouriting quite agressive tweets leaves you puzzled as to the reasons
  • People retweeting parts of the conversation out of context leads to wrong messages and questionable quotes
  • 140 characters are great to throw out truisms but not to make a point.
  • People consistenly copying you in on their arguments floods your notifications tab without really wanting to weigh in any longer

This morning was a great example: Peter Paul Koch wrote yet another incendiary post asking for a one year hiatus of browser innovation. I tweeted about the post saying it has some good points. Paul Kinlan of the Chrome team disagreed strongly with the post. I opted to agree with some of it, as a lot of features we created and thought we discarded tend to linger longer on the web than we want to.

A few of those back and forth conversations later and Alex Russel dropped the mic:

@Paul_Kinlan: good news is that @ppk has articulated clearly how attractive failure can be. @codepo8 seems to agree. Now we can call it out.

Now, I am annoyed about that. It is accusing, calling me reactive and calls out criticism of innovation a failure. It also very aggressively hints that Alex will now always quote that to show that PPK was wrong and keeps us from evolving. Maybe. Probably. Who knows, as it is only 140 characters. But I am keeping my mouth shut, as there is no point at this agressive back and forth. It results in a lot of rushed arguments that can and will be quoted out of context. It results in assumed sub-context that can break good relationships. It – in essence – is not helpful.

If you truly disagree with something – make your point. Write a post, based on research and analysis. Don’t throw out a blanket approval or disapproval of the work of other people to spark a “conversation” that isn’t one.

Well-written thoughts lead to better quotes and deeper understanding. It takes more effort to read a whole post than to quote a tweet and add your sass.

In many cases, whilst writing the post you realise that you really don’t agree or disagree as much as you thought you did with the author. This leads to much less drama and more information.

And boy do we need more of that and less drama. We are blessed with jobs where people allow us to talk publicly, research and innovate and to question the current state. We should celebrate that and not use it for pithy bickering and trench fights.

Photo Credit: acidpix

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