Is America doomed to sing the 140-character blues?

Summary:Could we have created a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, or a Gettysburg Address in today's world?

I have a colleague who seems to have rewired his brain to process all information as if they were tweets.

He's a very capable professional, as long as no single communication exceeds 140 characters. He also can't handle more than 2 msgs per day

Anything communicated to him that passes those limits simply winds up in limbo. It could be an important detail that might determine whether

If he needs to learn background about anything, it needs to be in tweet-sized chunks, or he won't accept it. Sometimes he gets frustrated th

Yet, if he doesn't get the information he needs to do his job, or that co-workers are depending on him for, he gets upset, wondering why the

He is not alone. More & more people filter out all but the first sentence because they have so much noise-filled information coming at them.

They think in tweets and Facebook posts. They LOL at anything that's TLDR. If you can't fit it into a text, it must not really be important.

But I worry about a society too busy to read, raised on YouTube, and educated with Twitter and Facebook. I worry that we won't think through

Some concepts can be communicated briefly. The entire Constitution of the United States is only 4600 words.

It seems we've gone to extremes. On the one hand, there's the health care act that takes thousands of pages. On the other we have tweets.

As our future becomes more complex, with threats to our freedoms more real and more subtle, our perspective has shrunk to 140-byte chunks.

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IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it become

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the c

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of sp

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposi

* * *

Could we have created a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, or a Gettysburg Address in today's world?


Topics: Social Enterprise


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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