I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead.
People have always found extreme value in the brevity of messages. As a result of our ability to have constant connectivity, people believe that immediate, simple, and constant communication matters. These interactions can be one-to-one or open to a broader audience.
The shelf life of conversations has been dramatically shortened. In 2000, when there were only a handful of blogs, a post or article would be commented about for a full week; its half-life would be around three to four days. Today, given the myriad of blogs and the expansion of tools like Twitter and Foursquare, the half-life of conversations has been reduced from days to minutes.
At the simplest of levels, this brevity has been caused by the massive amount of information readily available.
This technology isn't always about the personal and the frivolous; it can be highly leveraged in a time of crisis like a national disaster. The wildfires of San Diego in 2007 offer a good example of this. Nate Ritter, local to San Diego at the time of the fires, began twittering about what was happening from "Smoke has completely blocked out the sun" to "300,000 evacuated, to relief areas which can be found here." Realizing that it would be most effective to have as many people twittering about the fires with constant updates, Nate set up the hashtag #sandiegofire that many ...