The 140 character limit of an utterance imposes a brevity that makes the tweeter get right to the point. Living within this harsh constraint you'll find SwamiRoberts or @swamiroberts on Twitter. The Swami began tweeting in 2010 when something became important enough to comment about.
While the Swami offers up opinions on many topics, most can be classified into the categories: Work, Wise, Love, Cash, Soul, Joke, Tech, Twitter and Food. These are the chapters of the book with insights onto each.
Language is a fascination of the Swami. Recently the phrase "throwing sheep" came to mean offering up a pointless or senseless comment. The Swami strives to avoid throwing sheep, but on occasion will refrain from seriousness. Often there is a serious side to the Swami and a truth inside the funny comment. The Love and Soul chapters are more serious than the other sections, although fans of Dilbert or Office Space will find the truths in the Work chapter familiar.
The world around us is the inspiration for the Swami. Here in Portland, Oregon food carts have exploded all over town. I just don't recall seeing very many before 2009, but now they are everywhere. One such food cart sold mini (small) sandwiches. Eating one such sandwich inspired the Swami tweet: "When you are very hungry eat a mini-sandwich and you will only be hungry."
2012 was the year that the ancient Mayans predicted as the end of the world, or at least some kind of apocalypse happening. In the chapter Wise there are eleven apocalypse survival tips the Swami gives you. My favorite is tip number one: "Do not warn others about the coming apocalypse."
In the past it was only the court jester that could speak the truth safely to the king. Of course even the jester had to be cautious and was careful to conceal his insight with humor. Take the Swami in the same vein. There be truth in these tweets.
twisdom has an entire chapter on Twitter and while it's not exactly a course in manners, there are dos and don'ts -- not just for Twitter, but also for Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Google+ and any other social network. The Swami also has some thoughts on the differences between these social networks.
There are a few quotes in this book. Paul Bingman was a close personal friend who died in 2011. I really wish he was here to read this book, although he did read the Swami's tweets and had fun feedback. Paul's quote is "All you really have is your time and your attention." That was the philosophy of at least his later years, where Paul always strove to help others and do the good he could while also having some fun.
You might take the Swami in small doses. You might gorge your eyes and mind with a long good read. I find myself reading the Swami when I'm feeling lost or down and the Swami always picks me up a bit. Here's hoping the Swami lifts you to a higher self too.
Swami Roberts is the alter-ego of John R. Roberts, a long-time technologist and aspiring writer. In 2009 during a period of unemployment Roberts discovered Twitter, the perfect combination of technology and concise writing. The attraction was instant if the inspiration was not. What then to tweet? There are plenty of Twitterers who post every mundane aspect of their life, but what about someone reflecting on the higher meaning of life and the paradoxes we encounter every day.
This was the inspiration for writing something that someone else might want for read, even if only in 140 characters or less. Kind of a new form of graffiti, more transient, more ordered, but that same quality of random human expression. Yet with those constraints can something profound or funny or profoundly funny emerge? That is the idea of Swami Roberts.
On August 23, 2010 the first psychic tweet of @swamiroberts emanated out into the ether. The Swami has been emanating ever since.