The Not-So-Simple LifeUnless you’ve been encased in a block of ice for the past two years and just got thawed out this morning, you’ve probably heard of Twitter, the “microblogging” service that’s changing the way people all around the world work, think, and communicate.

Wait, that was way too long for Twitter, which requires each “tweet” to be 140 characters or less. Let’s try again:

In block of ice for 2 years? You may have missed Twitter (a “microblogging” service); it’s changing how we work, think, and communicate.

136 characters – not bad, and now “tweetable”. I could do better though…I might want that forwarded by my “tweeps”, and to leave room for someone to add a comment when doing so. One more try:

Stuck in ice? You missed Twitter (“microblogging”)–changing how we work/think/comm.

That one’s a mere 84 characters; perfect chum for the Twitterverse sharks (aside from its randomness and irrelevance, of course). And as an editor, I can certify that my third rendition of that thought conveys virtually the exact same message as my first one, which was over 3 times as long. A bit uglier, sure, but the thought is still there.

What’s my point? Simply that despite its reputation for frivolity and time-sucking, Twitter can indeed help you simplify. (If you doubt me, try to say something interesting and new in 140 characters or less. And then do it again. And again.)

However, I do have to confess that that’s the only way I can think of that Twitter simplifies anything. Except for connecting with people, that is. Twitter has made it easier than ever to connect with as many people as you want, from all over the human spectrum and all around the world. Which is precisely why it’s an un-simplifier—more connections mean more attention consumed, more relationship obligations, more opportunities…and more links.

Ohhh, the links. So tempting, so inviting, so clickable. So many. The links are my downfall when I start falling down due to Twitter.

I can handle the chatter of the 1000+ people that I’m “following”; being an imaginative type who has lived alone for the better part of the past 10 years, having various babbling voices running through my head is nothing new. But the information is a different story. My interests span way too many disciplines for me to be drinking from a limitless fountain of new ideas and information. Before you know it, I have a desktop full of open web browsers, and a college semester’s worth of reading and learning to do if I want to make them go away.

But you know what? That’s my problem, not Twitter’s. (Don’t blame the fountain!) Here’s how I know the problem is inside me, and not inherent to the tool: within the first two months of really using Twitter about a year ago, I conceived (and to various extents, started) no less than 10 new Twitter-related projects. I even bought domain names to go with some of them. Most of those projects have since been relegated to various corners of my globe-saving mind map…which is good, since I’ve been getting back into Twitter lately, and I have a few new ideas… (Shut up, brain!)

What’s the moral of the story? It’s “Give Twitter a shot, if you haven’t yet”, believe it or not. It really is changing the way we work, think, and communicate. And unlike material objects, when it comes to new ways to do those things, the more the merrier!

Wait, that was way too long. Let me try again.

The moral: Try Twitter. (!) Truly a new way to work, think, communicate. New ways to do those things = good.

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Lance Brown can be found (and followed) at, where he is forced to keep his rambling insanity down to 140-character-or-less portions.

This column is featured in The Simplifier #5.12.