"Last week, Megan Garber wrote an excellent piece on whether Twitter is speech or text. Yet despite a number of insightful and timely points, I’d argue there is a fundamental flaw with the very dichotomy of the question. While Twitter can certainly be both, it’s inherently neither. And trying to classify it within one or both of these conventional checkboxes completely misses the point that we might, in fact, have to invent an entirely new checkbox.
I, of course, make no claim to using Twitter as it “should” be used. But here’s how I use it, and it works for me, fitting my workflow, intellectual curiosity, and creative process: I use it as an information discovery tool. So I follow a small number of “linkers” — people who share links to interesting content, often content outside my own comfort zone, in at least 90 percent of their tweets. I in turn share links in just about every single tweet of mine, with a few words that summarize the linked content or a comment on why I find it noteworthy. Neither transactional direction of this discovery economy is conversation in the sense that speech is — fluid, sequential, responsive. And it isn’t text, either: There might be text that prefaces the recommendation, but it is merely the frame for the message being transmitted and a pointer to the real “text” (text, image, video — any actual content), rather than its substance...."