Anatomy of a Twitter message

RT @scobleizer: having lunch with @jasoncalacanis @TechCrunch and @ev at #lunch #lifestream

— dramatization of an actual twitter message

The simplicity of twitter is often mentioned as the key factor of its success.

Slate magazine (April 2007):

Twitter is the newest assault on your attention span. Once you’ve signed in, the Twitter site immediately prompts you with a question in bold type: “What are you doing?” Below, there’s a blinking cursor and a blank white space where you have 140 characters with which to answer. That’s basically it.

But 2.5 years after its inception, is that still “basically it”? We now have @replies, #hashtags, tinyurls, twitpics, RT retweeting and other protocols that we fit into those 140 characters that pollute messages.

Creating something new by taking things away is an interesting idea, but if its users start to re-add all the features that were intentionally left out by encoding it into the messages, does it really work?