If I were to make a list of the number of snarky articles in the mainstream press about Twitter (or social media in general) it would stretch the bandwidth available on this website. Journalists have the hardest time examining cultural phenomena without trying too hard to be 'smart'. Their preferred tone is cynical; the effect, however, canting and fallacious.
The latest foolishness is in a piece by Lisan Jutra about Twitter published yesterday in Canada's The Globe and Mail, the first in planned bi-weekly series on social media. The first column, announced above the masthead, is so silly as to be inconsequential except that it may augur how this column goes. And that presages a real waste of time (unlike Twitter).
A few 'mastersrtokes':
- "Instead, every other tweet (the cringe-inducing name for Twitter posts) turns out to include a link to some honking online tome." Mmmmh . . . does the journalist have a problem with reading?
- "At the time, I was following 50 people (the vast majority of Twitter users follow fewer than 50 people)." Mmmmh . . . where does that number come from? And I am at about 670 and have no problem with the flow of information, selecting what I need, parking the rest - if of interest - in my delicious account.
- "In the end, I followed up on 44 links between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. In total, this equalled three hours of power reading." Mmmmh . . . couldn't she tell within the first sentence whether the link was something worth reading?
I guess the answers to my questions are self-evident. The column is meant to entertain not take its subject seriously.
The next question, then, is Why bother? To whom are these scornful writers speaking when they belittle a means of connection, exchange, engagement, community creation?
They have nothing to say to me and the thousands of others interested in cultural memes and their impact on communications, messaging, reputation and issues. They have nothing to say to the millions of Twitter users who enjoy the quick news hit, the intimate although brief connection, the chance to offer an idea, service or product. They speak only to each other and the many hacks who have curled their lips at every social and business rupture that social media have occasioned (perhaps at the expense of their own industry).
One more point. . . My tweet about the column yesterday led to this response on Facebook from someone who I have never met:
"I don't know if you noticed but in the Globe they announced that this column is the launch of a bi-weekly column on "social media", and the column was promo'd above the fold on page one. Shouldn't there be a test or something that would screen out this kind of nonsense from someone who is supposed to be writing about the subject? It is kind of like a reporter for the ROB (Report on Business . . . my note), in their first column, announcing that analysts who use charts and graphs are annoying and wasting our time, 'cause markets are so volatile you'd be silly to invest in them. Very strange and silly."