(2018-11-15) Books Vs Tweets

Visakan Veerasamy had some interesting tweets: it’s possible to take a long/extended view such that the bites (Twitter nuggets) constitute a much bigger web of threads. The platform definitely isn’t optimized for this but it’s very possible... How do you read books other than one word at a time? I think the difference is that books are discrete linear packages, while the web is continuous & omni-directional. Focus is a function of frame; books are pre-framed; operating in the web necessitates holding your own frame... Been reflecting on this for some time, this idea that the web destroys people’s ability to focus on something like reading a book. Sometimes I suspect people have it sort of backwards. Focusing on a single self-contained experience to me is sometimes kind of like eating baby food.. As I get older and my mind-palace gets larger and more comprehensive (with other people’s ideas) I get less & less casually-randomly interested in books written by other people. I am currently most intrigued by the books that exist only in my imagination; that’s my primary focus... I change frames a LOT – but because I keep track of a lot of them (my various twitter threads, for example), I can always go back and pick up where I left of, and over time this builds an immense, intricate extended-mind-palace. (Hypertext)

  • Aug'2019 Patrick O'Shaughnessy wrote: I just don’t think the book is the right format for most interesting modern writing. For stories (fiction or non-fiction), the book remains the perfect format. But for most non-fiction ideas, the blog post and the podcast now seem far superior, with very few exceptions.
  • Sept'2021 https://twitter.com/BillSeitz/status/1439213827812429827
  • Oct'2021 Venkatesh Rao: I don’t like polished packaging for my ideas (trad books, polished courses/talks)... I am generally pretty doubtful of most things I say, so I prefer rough beta-looking presentation. Like how they used to sell street food in newsprint... guess I don’t like premium mediocre intellectual aesthetics where the packaging (eg TED talk, airport business book) projects far higher certainty and precision than the content delivers. It looks like it should contain elegant and counterintuitive theorems and you get tweets.

Random thoughts

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