The analogy to Harlan Ellison’s classic story isn’t there at all. But somehow the phrase fits anyway. As I think about Jessie Stay’s post about the implementation of the “in_reply_to_status_id” parameter in Twitter, and the matching of the metadata element by Identi.ca, I keep coming back to J.L. Austin’s idea of the speech act. This new parameter is a connector that enables a network of conversation. The elements of a conversation are not objects, but rather speech acts of the subject.
“What does it matter who is speaking,” someone said. “What does it matter who is speaking.”
The 140 character limit of the Tweet and the Dent ties the form to the SMS. The SMS is tied to the phone and the transmission of voice. It’s the writing that’s closest to speech and the performative utterance. The Tweet/Dent is the combination of the speaker and the spoken. Identity is implied. When a micro-object speaks, does it remain an object like any other object?