One more on Twitter
I suppose part of my reaction to the “I don’t get Twitter” from comments on a blog in particular is that ~15 years ago people didn’t understand blogs, thought they were a fad, and were only used by a certain slice of nerds (all of which was true to a point, of course). And yet, a lot people, including many readers here, have been using blogs as a gateway to wider news for a very long time. Indeed, the blogging format has largely reshaped the presentation of online news even as old school blogs have substantially faded from their heyday.
I am sure we all knew people who didn’t “get” blogs-even as we ourselves consumed content from them on a daily basis. If you can “get” blogging you can “get” Twitter, even if you don’t personally use it or see the appeal. Twitter is described as a “micro-blogging platform” and I think that that is an accurately description. Back in the early days of blogging blogs were sometime divided into “thinkers” and “linkers.” Thinkers wrote longer pieces, linkers just pointed readers to interesting things they found online. Twitter and other social media took the “linkers” idea to a whole new level.
There will always be some new way of sharing information. For example, I more or less “get” Snapchat, even though I really cannot get myself to use it. That doesn’t stop me from understanding that my sons get some of their news from Snapchat, including from old school sources like ESPN.
Fundamentally, newspapers, radio, TV, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all just means to communicate and they reach people in various ways. Perhaps more importantly, what is said via one medium (e.g., Twitter) can then be broadcast via some other medium (e.g., television or the newspaper–either on dead tree on electronically). As such, it is actually kind of silly, and denies reality, to say “well, that was on Snapchat, so I can ignore it, even though it is now on CNN, FNC, etc. and in the pages of the NYT and WaPo“).
Sure, if no one is paying attention to your old Friendster page, we can safely ignore it (since it is a self-confirming statement–trees falling in the woods with no one around to hear them and all that). But if the the Pope starts issuing encyclicals via MySpace, I don’t think we would ignore them because of the method of delivery.
My goal is not to be a cheerleader for Twitter, but to make broader point I have been trying to make in the comments for some time. (Although, feel free, btw, to follow me on Twitter @drsltaylor if you like).