Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

domingo, marzo 15, 2009

The Berkshire Twitter Debate

So. Clarence Fanto writes in the Berkshire Beagle that he doesn't like Twitter apparently because it's trivial and unedited:
So I'm deleting my Twitter account — during my brief trial I couldn't figure out how to use it anyway. Besides, there have been security breaches and the company shares information with "third parties," which could include spammers.

For me, it's time for a device-free walk in the woods — the best route for mind-cleansing decompression. And anyone who cares to become one of my followers can, well, take a hike.
And The Rogovoy Report defends Twitter:
While I agree with Clarence Fanto that Twitter and personal blogs are no substitute for professionally edited journalism ["Tweets need edits, substance ," March 15], my experience of Twitter has been the polar opposite of Fanto's. Whereas Clarence found a universe of vapid, self-obsessed inanities, I have found Twitter to be a useful tool and, yes, a genuine builder of community.

To wit, in the short time I've been on Twitter (a few months): A writer found me through Twitter and now writes for Berkshire Living magazine. I've gotten several story leads through Twitter. A neighbor I'd never met who lives two blocks away from me is now a close friend -- both on Twitter and in the real world. I was referred to a fellow Twitterer in Kansas who is now a source for my upcoming book about Bob Dylan. My acquaintance with a fellow journalist in the region has actually grown into a deep friendship largely through Twitter, where we've discovered previously unknown depths of common experience. And finally, I recently enjoyed a dinner at a local restaurant where about a dozen Tweeters -- almost none of whom I'd ever met in person -- got together in real life for the first time. There was almost no talk of Twitter at the dinner; rather, we enjoyed a great meal and learned more about each other. Many connections, professional and otherwise, were made; in other words, real community grew out of that dinner, which was an immediate product of our ad hoc Twitter community.
And how is it that I came to know of this debate? Well, I got a tweet from someone I follow on twitter who commented on the above controversy. And I thought I'd have a read. And that led to this posting.

Twitter and blogs and writing with pencils on yellow pads all have various kinds of challenges. So too, typewriters, Wordperfect, Blackberries, iPods, and cocktail napkins. And if you're really retro, matchbooks. In Mexico the challenge is often that a fountain pen bleeds through the crappy paper they sell there. There is no news in seeing the challenges in every kind of communication device. Mail sometimes gets lost and doesn't get delivered for 27 years. Sometimes your FedEx package gets diverted to Tom Hanks's island and is used for dentistry. This is not news.

All of these kinds of devices are in their infancy. Many won't be around in 5 years. They will go the way of cassette tape, 8-tracks, VCRs, blu-ray, cd's, long playing records, .45's (the gun and the record and the Houston team). The things that are good will be kept. The things that don't work, they'll be gone.

This isn't about devices we use, or our typing, or our lack of editing and spelling help. It's not about punctuation. It's not really about the quality of the content. What it's about is experimenting with various kinds of connectivity and seeing what good (and what bad) things we can do.

Rogovoy's dinner is a step in the right direction. Fanto's unwillingness to play takes him out of the next game and deprives him of input.

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