If you haven't read the Nick Bilton piece about the piece The New Yorker writer George Packer wrote about why he's afraid of Twitter and his view of the trepidations of living in the Digital Age, take a second to do so. I'll wait for you to get back….
Okay, glad you could rejoin here. After reading what both have written, it seems to me what both writers could have spent time talking about was the true social divide in America that runs deeper than ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status:
- Those who do not have Internet–either because they can't afford it or because they don't want it,
- Those who are so snobbish and/or rich they would belittle themselves to
use communications tools that the 'little people" are using, and
- Those who have it, do social media things like Twitter , Whrrl, and Facebook, and know a lot about what's actually going on in our world.
Of course, there are varying degrees in each class of people. My mom and dad can send me text messages and emails. My MIL reads my Twitter account regularly I'm told and knows what we're up to that way. But none of them walk around with an iPhone using something like Twitter.
I read Nick Bilton's piece and thought he made some good points about the value of using Twitter. Then I began reading the first page of comments and quickly had enough of what are obviously some pretty stupid yet intellectually snobbish people–and not all of them from New York.
Take this intellectual from Atlanta, Dave Michaels, who wrote, "Twitter Dee Twitter Dumb!"
Wow, that's expressive, gets straight to the point, or something. It would have fit in a Twitter message if he hadn't been too arrogant to have sent it. And it would have made about as much sense on Twitter as it did on the comments section of the NYT.
HF from Florida shows that maybe he's spent a little too much time outside in the Sunshine State:
defend it reminds me of addicts. Businesses use it to advertise, people
to communicate, but if you are saying its journalism…. you need to
back up a few steps. Twitter never verifies a source or checks facts.
Shouldn't that astronaut be doing experiments to benefit science- not
typing on his Blackberry?
"Honestly, when did embracing every new technology coming out become a religious practice?"
HF shows why he/she isn't on Twitter–they have to use more than 140 words to say something intelligent. Twitter isn't a form of journalism and I don't think that's what Bilton was implying. But I do know there are many journalists who use Twitter as an effective tool for gathering additional sources. Heck, when the US Airways plane crashed in the Hudson, I saw that photograph we all saw on CNN and everywhere else at least two hours before CNN had it on TV and I saw it almost immediately on Twitter.
Frown on that as you might you snobby NYT and New Yorker readers, but that's a fact, one that doesn't have to be fact checked HF.
The simple point is, if you're rich and snobby and you don't want to use Twitter, that's fine, then don't.
Why would anyone want to know about what other people are going through in their daily lives that might be similar? Why would anyone want to be able to do a search for a particular term and find out information about a subject often quicker and more informatively than with Google? And when a tragic event happens, why would anyone want to be able to find out information faster than what the Networks can report?
It's because we're human and most of us, albeit not many New Yorker readers and NYT commentors, actually like to use our brains, think for ourselves and find out our information firsthand.
Remember that list of the social classes in America? Up until right now, I had the snobby ones listed as the third category, but it occurs to me that it's the rest of us who have Internet service and who are using it to its fullest who are actually the top rung of the classes, and finally, for once in human history, it's not the other way around.