On tweetstorms

May 17, 2020
3 Minute Read

I love Twitter! It offers an endless flow of information through organic conversations you can follow — or just follow along — in a highly democratic fashion.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

― Heraclitus

Some tweeters have dropped valuable gems on the platform over the past ~two years, in the form of threads. There are apps such as Threader to help folks consolidate these thoughts into a single link. I understand how Twitter threads are an ideal form for creating amazing content. They require such low lift: all you need is the ability to pack your idea into a dense 280 characters. The friction is so low. No explanations are needed and your tweet has super high leverage. The feedback loops are so fast. When several bursts of ideas are linked they become a tweetstorm. No explanation required, limited context, dense content, to each their own interpretation.

The unfortunate truth is that if you miss the hype, most of this amazing wisdom is as temporal as the river. The wisdom is lost within days and weeks if not hours. Let’s take @shreyas from Stripe talking about good vs. great product managers:

Unless he pins this thread to his profile and unless I was online the day his thread went viral, I wouldn’t have seen it. In 2012, Moz measured 18 minutes as the lifespan of a tweet. So much great content is lost because it is not linked to a source where I can read these 8,400 characters on one page easily.

@naval does a great job of summarizing his tweetstorms to his site. It might be a worthwhile endeavour to retain some of your most valuable tweets as a tiny post or audio – just like Naval so that the future generations of readers can find these indexed on your official blog.

@johncutlefish tweeted the ambition to compile some of his Twitter content as a Gumroad distributable while I was editing this post:

Today, Shreyas also tried to build a meta tweetstorm attempting to consolidate all his recent content to one thread:

These are different mechanics to Naval’s and are both great ideas! A Substack Chrome extension which helps writer threadroll their tweetstorms as posts might be useful? I am sure herein lies a small product opportunity.

For now, you’ve done the hard work and burned brain cells to produce such great content. Help preserve it. You will see benefit from it and your audience will appreciate you even more:

Thank you Calvin French-Owen, Kevin Niparko and Daphne Gray-Grant for early feedback.