Pulling the Thread – The Problem With Super-Threads On Twitter

The 140 character limit on Twitter has always been something of a stumbling block for those among us with too much to say. Often we will spread a thought over more than one tweet, as fitting it into one post just doesn’t work, no matter how many words are removed or abbreviated. As I see it, this is absolutely fine. I’ve done it plenty of times myself, as have many of us. However, of late there appears to be an increase in the number of “super-threads” – posts that are stretched over a very long thread (towards – and beyond – double figures). To me, this does become a problem, especially when certain tweeters make this their regular platform with a daily statement spread over a 10, 15, 20+ thread of tweets.

What’s my problem with super-threads?

One big problem with super-threads is that they can quickly become very difficult to read. Tweets within the thread sometimes get hidden by “read more replies” links, and other contributors reply to individual tweets creating threads within threads. This can be even more of a problem for people like me who use Tweetdeck, as (unless I am missing something) this platform does not handle replies within threads at all well – if you click on a reply it is next to impossible to go back to where you were (in fact, if I do encounter such a thread while I’m using Tweetdeck, I’ll often open it in normal Twitter instead as that copes much better).

What might we do instead?

Twitter has been well described (especially back when it was new and needed categorising) as a “microblogging platform”. These super-threads are certainly not micro, so my suggestion is that they should be blogged. Instead of creating a long overly-threaded sequence of tweets, write it into a blog post, then write a single (or double, or even triple) tweet with an introduction to what you have written and a link through to the blog post, such as…

This way, all your thoughts are presented in one easy-to-read post, and replies will be either to your single tweet, or in the comments on your blog. In addition, you can drive traffic to your blog and maybe even monetise your hard work (eg, if you carry adverts on your blog, or you have services or products to sell) instead of giving all the potential revenue to Twitter.

Disclaimer

This is, of course, all my own personal opinion. I don’t really like super-threaded posts and think their content would work better in a blog. You may totally disagree. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments below, or to me on Twitter @nigenet 🙂

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