'What's this rather queer looking contraption?', we might ask ourselves. Twitter and philosophy? No way!
Yes way! said the whole tweetosophers community, and there's quite bunch of us. I've noticed there are some people who follow just over one thousand philosophers on Twitter. And with each new day i follow or get followed by more and more philosophers, engage with them in discussions, comments or questioning every possible philosophical field or problem.
Of course, by discussion i mean exchange of ideas formed within a tweet, which is quite different than what some philosophers are used to. Discussing philosophical issues has mostly been done in wide form of essays where each point of view could be dissected and presented as complicated or difficult to express. Philosophers would approach every problem with variety of arguments, examples, thought experiments and the like, just as we are used to read philosophical books usually written in more than two hundred pages. But what if someone asked you to express your arguments in 140 characters? How could philosophers deal with that? Quite recently @ATBollands and i argued on solipsism and he stated that "Twitter is so useful (if a little frustrating) for philosophical debate. It forces you to be concise in the arguments you give" on which i replied that "Maybe every philosophical debate should be as concise in argumentation as a tweet". And i really meant that! What @ATBollands brilliantly stated means that Twitter forces you to think how can you state your arguments in best possible way in order to fit them in only 140 characters. This means that Twitter forces you to think - and not just when engaged in philosophical, but also in any other discussion.
I wrote about this in one of my previous posts - Philosopher of Post PC era - where i stated that Twitter can be understood as sequel of Short Message Service, or text messages, used on mobile phones, where we had the same restriction in messages we wanted to send to others. But what does this restriction achieve? Why force someone into this limited form of communication? I think it was Einstein who said 'If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it at all'. Twitter makes it simple and it makes you wonder about the essence of communication, for it is really just an exchange of messages. Also, one of basic linguistic theories argues in favour of linguistic economy, which roughly states that we should spend less energy in production of better communication. Transleted into tweetosophy, this means that philosopher, or any other, should practice the ways of communicating simpler statements with same or even better results in interlocutor's understanding. By mastering this communication skill we will never again feel incomplete in argumentation. In fact, our argumentation skills can only become better, because we learn how to construct simple and crystal clear arguments. Unless, of course, you want to be more like Hegel...eventually ending up not understanding yourself what you wanted to say. As much as we may admire Hegel's incredible work, there aren't many philosophers who can understand him entirely. But, one might also ask, is this the purpose of philosophy, not to be understood, or the be understood by only a few who have enough time and energy to waste on continuous reading of one man's worldviews and imaginations? I really wouldn't call that love for wisdom. I prefer to be understood by others and then also agreed with or refuted by their reasoning on same matter, but from a different perspective. I want to...
- ...benefit from philosophy!
- But you can't benefit from philosophy. It has a purpose in itself.
- What? What the fuck does that even mean?
- Well, it can be understood as...
- No, i asked what does it mean?
- Well, according to Plato...
- Im not interested in Plato. I want to hear what you have to say!
- Well, i base my opinion on previous...
- I'm not interested in hearing the history of ideas! I don't have time for that! I want to live! Tell me what it means!
- What it means?
So, other than above stated, there is one more reason for you to become a tweetosopher. Simply put, Twitter is where all the philosophical action is. Facebook is more of a place for friends, family and silly Youtube cat videos. LinkedIn is a place for your professional connections and where you pretend to be serious, academic and stuffy. Which leaves you with Twitter as place where you can relax, meet new people from around the world and philosophize in any way you like. So, if you have your Home - Facebook, you have your Work - LinkedIn, then you have your Going Out - Twitter! Twitter is the new Agora for philosophers! Only this time nobody will make us drink poison...i hope!