“Le mot juste”: Twitter and rigour


First, go ahead and google “le mot juste”; it has a bit of a literary history.

I would not have predicted a year and a half ago when I first logged onto Twitter, that I would still be tweeting today. It was a bit of a duty at first, a concession to the upstart wisdom of those younger than I that such media could, in fact, be at the same time social and meaningful.

Celebrities tweet what they are doing: a mocha on the wharf in San Francisco, an aperitif on the Champs Elysees, or a jog in Central Park. Tweeting thus, stars build a following, and illustrate that people are interested in their lives. The rest of us who tweet are different, however, and this is where the unlikely word “rigour” gets attached to social media. Most of those I follow try to pack as much meaning into the economy of 140 characters while at the same time trying to stamp a bit of themselves onto the message. So it becomes rich, and surprisingly connected. Most tweets that I receive and post also have a link to a website, sending a follower down a bit of a rabbit hole that web links often become. Thought is provoked. For the curious mind, it can be a wonderland.

Communicate more? I don’t know a business or organization that hasn’t been the victim of that advice. Communication can be an exercise in either waste or economy, depending on the voice.  The indulgent celebrity world of spoiled egos and the arid souls who feed off that glamour don’t define Twitter, I find. There are substantial magazines and there are vacuous magazines (yes, I still read words printed on paper); there are substantial tweets and there are vacuous ones. As a former English teacher, schooled in educational gardens where precision was more important than profusion, I find hope in the brevity of Twitter, whose soul should indeed be wit.


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