The Casting Dock

Birdcages (Guest Blogger)

I’ve been meaning to guest blog for a few weeks now, but I haven’t had any ideas. When Lis asked if I’d like to guest blog this week though, the light bulb flickered a little: in the absence of any specific idea, why not write about ideas themselves? Brilliant, I know.

In the Internet Age, the face and shape of ideas are changing drastically. With communication becoming more instantaneous, more global, and more accessible, we’re seeing the rise and proliferation of what I’d call the “nascent idea.” The internet is full of nascent ideas, the half-formed, ill-conceived, undeveloped seeds of ideas. And there is no greater culprit in the mass dissemination of these nascent ideas than Twitter. Let me throw down a helpful analogy:

Nic Cage : action movies :: Twitter : good ideas

After you’ve finished cursing me for recalling the memory of your standardized testing days, you probably have two questions:

1) Is Jerry trying to bash Nic Cage every single time he guest blogs? This is an easy one. Yes.

2) But, Jer, no one in America likes Nic Cage flicks anymore. Twitter’s pretty popular. About 200-million-users popular, actually. If that many people use and seemingly enjoy Twitter, how can it possibly be as bad for ideas as Nic Cage is for action movies? This one opens a whole can of worms, but for brevity’s sake I’ll cite two characteristics of ideas that make them poor food for Twitter.

First, good ideas need time and space to develop. Ideas come to us like pixies (think Tink): small, lively, mischievous creatures that bounce around in our head until we do something with them. They can be our best friends or our worst enemies. They can alter the course of human history or we can forget them almost as soon as they appear. Regardless, they need time to develop, time for reflection and investigation, time for a small dose of critical thinking. When nascent ideas meet Twitter, Russell Brand decides it’s smart to show the world the Katy Perry he wakes up to:

Not good for business. But even if we apply a little critical thinking to our nascent ideas, they still require space to properly unfold. Twitter is many things to many people, but spacious it is not. Need an example? Here’s MLK in 140 characters:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by”

Cliffhanger, huh?

But, Jer (you might say), what about those good one-liners, those nice little adages or zingers that cut right to the chase and stick with us for a while? Fair. I suppose that, were they alive today, time’s terse sages like King Solomon and Ben Franklin would have millions following their Twitter feeds. But this brings me to my second point: good ideas need a platform. Can you imagine Solomon tweeting proverbs from his palace every few days? They’d get lost in the cyber clutter. Good ideas need something that will physically isolate them, like binding and a couple hard covers. Or, they need something that will dress them up and make them pop, say some paint and a canvas, or some performers and a stage. Good ideas deserve spaces and platforms where they may breathe on their own, where they may find an audience, where they may provoke our minds with their depth and fascinate us with the words and images and sounds they come to inhabit.

So here’s my final plea: Twitter’s a Caged bird. Give your good ideas the open air and boundless skies they deserve. #howsthatforanironicconclusionof140charactersorfewer?

5 comments

1 Mama Logan { 05.05.11 at 2:43 pm }

“Give your good ideas the open air and boundless skies they deserve” – just what Lisa (and her guest bloggers) does with her blog. And she brings so much enjoyment to everyone that reads it!

2 Maggy { 05.05.11 at 10:37 pm }

I hear you, but I still like Twitter.
Uh.
Is that really Katy? I’m very gullible…I’m on the fence here.
#selfesteemboost

3 bryan { 05.06.11 at 1:03 am }

I have a twitter. I followed a whole bunch of people. Once I saw what they tweeted about, I unfollowed most. Now I just never check it. I tweeted once. My tweet was, “Saturday, 1:03pm”. I don’t know if any ideas emerged from this singular tweet.

I am glad Jerry’s doing a little lifting this week, I like the diversity… More Jerry. And more new guest posters. Who will come forward and give Lisa some great free content? I’d do it, but I am not up to it, sadly.

I also like how all Jerry guest posts feature Nicolas Cage. Hard to talk about anything really without a universal reference. Nic Cage = Jerry’s pole star… I can dig it.

4 bryan { 05.06.11 at 9:59 pm }

test

5 bryan { 05.07.11 at 1:31 pm }

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