The Emergent Grammar of Twitter
danah boyd has just posted an academic article (under review) on retweeting at her blog:
We wanted to explore retweeting as a conversational practice. In doing so, we highlight just how bloody messy retweeting is. Often, folks who are deeply embedded in the culture think that there are uniform syntax conventions, that everyone knows what they’re doing and agrees on how to do it. We found that this is blatantly untrue. When it comes to retweeting, things get messy.
It’s a must read and reminds us that there is serious grammatological work to do. We need to ask how does Twitter as a system of writing shapes, structure, and delimit our thinking and communication. The simple encoded rule â€œspeak less than 141 characters,â€ the open question â€œwhat are you doing?â€ and emergent convention â€œRT, via, retweet, @philippmueller, etc.â€ allow for surprisingly complex human speech. Time to re-read Friedrich Kittler’s Aufschreibesystem 1800/1900 and Derrida’s Of Grammatology?