A Long-Writer Cozies Up to 140 Characters and 500 Words

And so it begins.

In March 2009 I grabbed @JFRQ, my first Twitter handle, and immediately posted the oh-so-neither-profound-nor-interesting tweet, “Just established myself on Twitter.”

A few months after grabbing @JFRQ (did you know that the genesis of the entire JFRQ naming milieu rests on how it was always easy to grab JFRQ on a new platform? Qs are just not used very much . . . ), some rascally apparently-namesake fellow had already grabbed @JohnFriedman, so I settled for my name with the under_score and grabbed the @John_Friedman handle

The noive. I maybe should have gone for @JohnFriedman first. But it probably didn’t matter. And, as it happened, I did not use John_Friedman until recently.

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It wasn’t until Thanksgiving of 2009 that I posted a couple of things under @JFRQ, but then all went silent until March of this year when, after putting that big white hardback-book down, I, slack-jawed, felt compelled — truly compelled — to post this:

Will people reading Jobs book conclude rudeness succeeds? “Intentionally wounding towards people,” wife says, was the norm. P.342 hardback


That phrase — intentionally wounding towards people — really got my attention because, of all the people I have ever come across in my entire life, I can only think of a handful who seemed to intentionally wound. Far from it, most go out of their way to be nice, even when they are being treated badly (the slow-boil crescendo scene in the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo comes to mind, when the murdering guy says to James Bond the reporter guy, “You just walked into my house right now when I asked you to come in. Even though you knew you shouldn’t. You just couldn’t bring yourself to be rude, could you?” Or something along those lines.).

And oh that 140-character limit. The final period, with which I really, really wanted that post to conclude, did not fit! I mean, there were other sentence-enders in there; how unparallel is it to not have the sentence-ender at the end of the whole thing — the most important sentence-ender of all?

And even though I really, really wanted to say, never-blinking-Silicon-Valley types (we in the Bay Area have all seen them, yes?) rather than people, the 140 character limit breached no fudge, and so it went up as shown here.

So I swallowed my normal grammar self, and posted the tweet sans period and without the much-cooler reference to the non-blinkers who intensely, often sans humor, inhabit parts south of here.

Then the feed went silent again.

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Earlier this year, once I’d decided to ditch the JFRQ name and put the emphasis of all my marketing on . . . me, little ol’ me (and, yes, all the “we” references in my writing are likely to soon start turning over and popping up as “I” references, thank you TC for that comment all these many years ago), I grabbed @J_F_Financial (@JohnFriedmanFinancial is longer than the Twitterfolk allow). And, using that handle, I started to slowly feel my way through the world of short.

After unearthing the dormant @John_Friedman, I soon decided that I could live with one underscore easier than I could with two, so I changed horses (birds?). As of July 23rd, then, you’d best think of me as an under-scored me — at least for Twitter purposes.

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Clearly, not much got me a’tweetin’ in the past.

But now I get it.

Like I said the other day, the Ryan announcement two Friday nights ago showed me what it was like to see news spread over the Twitter machine. And this past weekend I saw it again when Todd Akin, Senate candidate from Missouri, used the phrase legitimate rape to mean . . . gosh only knows what.

And with the political season just about to kick into truly high gear with the conventions next week, I find that the Twitter machine is the fastest way to see what the buzz of the moment might be. Yes, it might be wrong (this morning, for instance, there are indications that both Akin will stay in the race and that he will drop out, and surely one must be wrong, yes?), but it is so much quicker than the rest of the web. And now getting my PC to wake up just seems, like, so annoying, so I am also finding my little iPod Touch to be just the ticket for climbing aboard my new fave info-stream.

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At the same time, the John Friedman Financial site is now live, and, to the relief of many folks, I am swearing off long New Yorker-length pieces (or at least mostly swearing them off), with my aim being to post one 500-word-or-so piece each day, usually in the morning (West Coast time). That’s about two to three minutes of reading for most folks (as best I can tell, a long New Yorker article runs something like 7,500 to 10,000 words — 15 to 20 times longer than my goal).

I am even asking my website guy if he can put the number of words at the top of the blog entry, so you know what you’re getting yourself into when you start reading the piece.

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There’s lots of stuff going on right now business- and family-wise, so I’m doing a soft roll-out of the new John Friedman Financial Blog and the new Twitter feed @John_Friedman. Look for a full launch come the fall.

In the meantime, those of you who find your way here, please do let me hear your thoughts. I’m always happy to hear positive reviews, but the ones that are the most helpful are the negatives reviews. So, please, if that’s not your natural way of being, then do try on some of your best Steve Jobs, and do come on into the house. Feel free to blink, though. It’s good for your eyes.

951 words


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