Twitter is the Wonderbread of intellectual nutrition

We are entering a world where we may stop knowing how to think, because we have lost the ability to read.

I was just reading Phil Windley's exposition on why he's dumping Facebook for Twitter. No big loss for him, as both of the "services" reek of potty: He simply chose the lesser of two noisy and vapid "conversations." It's like choosing between brands of puffed rice.

People like Phil love Twitter because it gives immediate, to the point information. People like me hate it for almost exactly the same reason. I want real information, real thinking. I don't want soundbites that serve as excuses for real thought.

I choose my literature in the same way. I prefer books that stand the test of time to become classics. Dostoevsky. Dickens. Dreiser. I'm not very interested in Archie comics. Not anymore.

SMS and other short-form messaging systems have their purpose, but anyone hoping to subsist on Twitter's "Wonderbread" nutrition needs to reevaluate their ongoing education. The best ideas emerge from the best thinking, and the best thinking doesn't take place in 140-character bursts. We're entering an age where we seem to have shorter and shorter attention spans. The way to beat that is not by succumbing, but rather by training ourselves through real reading.

Because of Twitter, Phil knows that there were tornadoes today in Laramie and Denver. Because of real literature and yes, even blogs, he might actually know what to do about them.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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