I’ve been thinking about tweetstorms recently and the idea of sharing a running thought stream vs a formalized and more structured post. I’ve been trying to grok what has made them so interesting for the tweeters (because now I see a lot of them) and why they tend to spark better conversations than most things on Twitter.

Since it’s much easier to understand something once you have personal experience, I created one a few weeks ago and spent over an hour engaging and responding. https://twitter.com/joshelman/status/562477000569286656

Note: you have to click on the link to see all the replies and conversation. Twitter should add a feature to note replies in their embedded tweet

Below are my running thoughts on why tweetstorms are here to stay:

1) It was surprising how many people felt welcome to respond and engage on the tweet storm. Definitely more people and more activity than on an individual tweet. I attribute a lot of this to @pmarca who started the tweetstorm trend and created expectations that with a tweetstorm, engagement is as important as the initial thoughts. It now feels like an invitation into a conversation.

2) A few people waited until I was done, but most just jumped in after I made the first 1–2 tweets and referenced those and kept going along the way. The real-time feedback was very compelling. It was fun to retweet the ones that come in along the way as they added value to the points I was trying to make. And many sparked individual responses and conversations that were interesting too.

3) One of the benefits of using Tweets to make a series of points is that anyone can to respond to just one point or tweet and each response feels like a first class citizen. Because each tweet also stands alone, this creates a much stronger response to points mid-post or mid-tweetstorm than I would usually see on a blog post. Medium’s notes are great — and I hope people will respond to some individual points. But the tweet structure really helps. .

4) The final result is an interesting artifact between my original tweets, responses from others, my responses to their responses, etc. Because of Twitter, this will just flow away and I won’t really see it again. But it’s an interesting overall artifact that I’d want to capture. I think there is room to capture a number of these great attributes but also give these “storms” a bit more weight. I hope to see Twitter and others innovate here.

Anyway — I was surprised how addicting the experience was. And I spent almost an hour engaging around this topic even though I just started with 6 tweets.

I love building products that people use. I‘ve helped build Twitter, Facebook Connect, LinkedIn, Robinhood. Investor in Medium, Tiktok/Musical.ly, Discord

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