Why journalists should not twitter, Parts 87, 88, 89

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"Why journalists should not twitter, Parts 87, 88, 89"

Andy Revkin starts in A Tweetcar Named Desire?

http://a3.vox.com/6a00cd96fad6804cd50110181a7b4b860f-500piJournalists simply shouldn’t be twittering on science or other subjects that require more than 140 characters to discuss intelligently, which is pretty much every topic.  The stodgy, old media have a great desire — a brutal Desire — to be like the hip, new media, but twitter is crack for serious reporters (see Should journalists twitter?).

Case in point:  Yesterday, I published a guest piece in which I provided a long introduction — “The coming climate panic?  Will U.S. conservatives usher in the era of permanently big government?”  Former NYT reporter Andy Revkin then launched a series of uber-confused tweets that grotesquely misrepresented that post, muddled the science, and seemingly contradicted his own reporting.

Yes, I’ve been tough on Revkin in the past year, but these tweets are simply beyond ridiculous.  Let’s start with the first, which manages to get one of my major points exactly backwards:

Romm says Right will be panicked into co2 control by epic disruption: http://j.mp/co2panic Hmm. Read Brulle: http://j.mp/co2slowdrip #agw

Uhh, no.

My half of the post mostly makes the reverse point — hence my subhead, “Will U.S. conservatives usher in the era of permanently big government?”  I’m arguing, as I have many times, that listening to the “Right” and not controlling CO2 would lead to epic disruption, and adaptation requires much bigger government than CO2 control.

The second half of the piece, by Auden Schendler and Mark Trexler, also doesn’t make that point.  Indeed, they don’t talk about the Right very much at all.

My point — and Schendler’s and Trexler’s — is that continued dawdling may well ultimately drive a desperate response at some point in the not-so-distant future.  That ain’t close to “Romm says Right will be panicked into co2 control by epic disruption.”

Revkin, in his tweet, seem to have misread/conflated the piece and then mispresented it.  All in under 140 characters.  Not a “Stella” performance [sorry, couldn’t resist].

Then we have Revkin’s second tweet:

Joe R still sees Aussie’s Big Dry as co2-driven event http://j.mp/co2panic Not what climate scientists see: http://j.mp/AusDry #agw #climate

Uhh, no and no.

First off, the part about Australia’s drought was written by Schendler and Trexler, not me!

Second, the study Revkin cites (by Danielle Verdon-Kidd and Kiem) does not, as he implies, prove climate scientists don’t see what’s happening in Australia as climate driven. In fact, the study has very little to do with human-caused climate change.  It “suggests” that the recent drought may be due to the Southern Annular Mode staying in the positive phase (a point which is disputed by others), but never discusses whether that is driven by human emissions, which is entirely possible.

In fact, I’d urge Revkin or anyone interested in the science behind extreme weather in Australia to read “The continuing decline in South-East Australian rainfall: update to May 2009by Dr. Bertrand Timbal, of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR), which concludes:

This change in the relative contributions by the autumn and spring seasons now more closely resembles the picture provided by climate model simulations of future changes due to enhanced greenhouse gases.

Or read the AFP story from last year, get this: “Australian wildfire ferocity linked to climate change: experts“:

“Climate change, weather and drought are altering the nature, ferocity and duration of bushfires,” said Gary Morgan, head of the government-backed Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.

Or read the excellent RealClimate Post, “Bushfires and extreme heat in south-east Australia,” which itself has many links.

The scientific literature is clear that many subtropical and near-subtropical areas will see less precipitation under climate change — see for instance “Widening of the tropical belt in a changing climateand “Drought warning as the tropics expand.”

Revkin’s tweet is simply not supported by the science — I gag at even having to write that sentence — even if 140 characters could do credit to this important subject, which it cannot.  Moreover, let’s look at what Schendler and Trexler actually wrote:

Meanwhile, that very planet is visibly changing””epic droughts, fires and dust storms in Australia; floods in Asia, alarmingly fast melting of land ice in Greenland and Antarctica; the prospect of an ice-free summer on the Arctic Sea; raging, unprecedented fires throughout the world; and mosquito-borne illnesses like Dengue spreading to regions previously untouched. Measurements show that the oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, while the Earth’s average temperature was higher in the past decade than at any time in the past century.

At some point, even climate change becomes teenager obvious: “Well, Duh, Dad! Look around you!”

Again, the constraints of twittering turn that into “[Schendler/Trexler] still sees Aussie’s Big Dry as co2-driven event,” which isn’t quite what they said.  Now you may say, well, that’s what they are implying — to which I’d reply, they are implying that the climate impacts in Australia are part of a pattern of climate change that’s consistent with human-caused climate change, which is more than scientifically defensible.

Heck let’s look at how Revkin himself wrote about Australia last year, in a piece of work I have repeatedly cited as an excellent example of how to write about uber-extreme weather events of this sort — “The New York Times ran a much better story today than their earlier AP-inspired stories, no doubt because ‘Andrew C. Revkin contributed reporting from New York’.” [see CNN, ABC, WashPost, AP, blow Australian wildfire, drought, heatwave “Hell (and High Water) on Earth” story “” never mention climate change].  The NYT reported:

The firestorms and heat in the south revived discussions in Australia of whether human-caused global warming was contributing to the continent’s climate woes of late “” including recent prolonged drought in some places and severe flooding last week in Queensland, in the northeast.

Climate scientists say that no single rare event like the deadly heat wave or fires can be attributed to global warming, but the chances of experiencing such conditions are rising along with the temperature. In 2007, Australia’s national science agency published a 147-page report on projected climate changes, concluding, among other things, that “high-fire-danger weather is likely to increase in the southeast.”

The flooding in the northeast and the combustible conditions in the south were consistent with what is forecast as a result of recent shifts in climate patterns linked to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the United States National Center for Atmospheric Research.

So please tell me how Revkin can attack what Schendler and Trexler wrote?

But in the mindless realm of Twittering, that’s what passes for analysis.

I would add that while it’s clear that Australia’s extreme weather is consistent with the predictions of climate science, it’s also clear that the extreme weather in Australia has been made more extreme by global warming (see “Must-have PPT: The ‘global-change-type drought’ and the future of extreme weather“).  Warm-weather droughts are generally worse than cooler-weather droughts — and this has been a hot-weather drought, which is perhaps the worst of all.  Future droughts will increasingly be very hot weather droughts.

Now Sustainable2050 did “take on” Revkin in a couple of tweets:

@revkin To me, Verdon-Kidd and Kiem don’t seem to rule out Climate Change as driver for Big Dry. Also have a look at http://bit.ly/BigDryRC

To which Revkin replies:

@Sustainable2050 It’s not about ruling out AGW; it’s about ruling it IN (which is what @climateprogress seems to want to do).

To which Sustainable2050 replied (I think I have the order of these tweets right):

@revkin OZ Big Dry: But Ruling IN AGW is not disproven by the paper you mention; and it is supported by prof. Karoly: http://bit.ly/BigDryRC

To which I say, Stop the Madness!  I’m ruling all these tweets out of order!

If Revkin thinks he can debunk a blog post with some tweets, he is dead wrong.  Tweets are too Lilliputian.  I’d say he is transforming himself from journalist to blogger, but then lots of bloggers don’t tweet, and frankly this episode has convinced me that it isn’t something I want to do (other than the automatic tweeting of my blog headlines).

Let me end with what I wrote in this September post — Van Jones seeks a “Healing for our Politics”: “Let’s be One Country” PLUS my response to Tapper’s tweets “” Should journalists twitter? — about the media’s insatiable desire to tweet, which has, I think, a Tennessee-Williams-esque self-destructiveness:

Memo to media on tweets:  Even more than blogging, twittering blurs the line between news reporting and just blurting out an opinion.  It eliminates all possibility of nuance and thus strikes me as it inappropriate for reporting/commenting on complex issues.  I think it is a very problematic activity for serious reporters and is more likely to undermine one’s reputation for substantive journalism than to provide anything resembling “news” to the public.

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36 Responses to Why journalists should not twitter, Parts 87, 88, 89

  1. Wit's End says:

    Revkin has now proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he is irrelevant and silly. He’s like an old lady dressed up like a teen. Sad, but funny!

  2. Thx for citing, but why declare my tweets out of order? They are pretty accurate, and they cite a source you describe as ‘excellent’ yourself. In my opinion a tweet spread to Revkin’s 6,267 followers asked for a reply via Twitter as well! In addition I did a more extensive post on RealClimate.

    [JR: It’s nothing personal. Indeed, I appreciate what you’re trying to do. Dhogaza puts it best in the next comment.]

  3. dhogaza says:

    If Revkin thinks he can debunk a blog post with some tweets, he is dead wrong.

    It’s worse, apparently Revkin thinks he can debunk a fairly sizable chunk of science related to climate change in Australia in 140 characters.

    Thx for citing, but why declare my tweets out of order?

    I think Joe’s point is that debating science in 140 character tweets should be declared out of order because it’s effing stupid. Not your rebuttals – which were great – but the entire notion that it’s a reasonable medium for doing so. Of course, once Revkin started down that path I, at least, am glad you went after him but it’s bad enough we have “blog science”, now we have to put up with “tweettwit science”?

    We’ve always had silly bar room physics but at least in the old days the audience was small ….

  4. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Could someone please review the accuracy of Revkin’s 12/31/09 dot.earth posting on the artic? It seemed a little confused to me.

  5. Leif says:

    Sustainable2050, #2: ~ 250+ characters,… out of order – you are only allowed 140

  6. lgcarey says:

    Great, we have yet one more forum in which Revkin’s increasingly irrelevant nonsense has to challenged. Thanks to Sustainable2050, but you shouldn’t have to spend your time responding to the lack of reading skills on Revkin’s part.

  7. The Wonderer says:

    Attribution of Australia’s prolonged drought to a proximate cause, SAM in this case, is typical of the pattern I’ve seen among TV meteorologists over the years in the attribution of an extreme weather event. It’s the jet stream, it’s the ocean currents, and etc. is okay with me until the accompanying comment (stated or implied), “so therefore it’s not AGW.” This is a logical fallacy in the argument, but one that tends to go over most people’s head.

    http://polarmet.osu.edu/acd/sam/sam_recon.html

  8. Thx JR and Dhogaza. I agree, but I’m afraid we won’t always get to choose the weapons. Interesting challenge to say something sensible in 140 characters, and let’s try to use tweets to refer to more sensible media. In this case, it worked: some Tweeters actually had a look at http://bit.ly/BigDryRC !

    PS Leif, I wasn’t aware that there was this limitation here as well ;<]

    [JR: I’d say the best one can do in a tweet is to say “Your whole argument is bunk and debunked here [tinyurl].” One always has a choice of weapons.]

  9. Jeff Huggins says:

    It seems to me that serious and disciplined science journalists who cover this stuff (are there any?; I wonder?) should understand three things by now: the complexity of climate change (in some senses); the VITAL importance of communicating things accurately AND IN CONTEXT; and the dangers of people gleaning the wrong understanding from short comments that are made out of context.

    How in the heck can someone think he is advancing the cause of public understanding via messages that are “shot off” and limited to 140 characters, or whatever the number is?

    Andy, please read the many (valid) criticisms of the problems associated with short sound bites in TV and radio media. They are plentiful, valid, and easy to understand. Although I don’t follow or agree with everything he says, nevertheless, Noam Chomsky has many insightful things to say, and his discussion of the problems of sound bites in his movie “Manufacturing Consent” is great, and I recommend it.

    Trying to convey understanding of climate science, or to attempt to correct other people’s longer comments, using Twitter Tweets (if that’s what they are called) is not a good idea in my view, if someone wants to be accurate, convey understanding, and maintain credibility on the subject. Short sound bites, or Twitter Tweets, can’t really accomplish the task and will usually add more to misunderstanding than to in-context, accurate understanding. Unless, perhaps, in some cases, the tweets are very carefully, accurately, and clearly worded. I just don’t think it’s the best way to go.

    Is it “cool” or “modern”? Who cares!! I suppose that the piece yesterday (that put global warming in the same list with space aliens and etc.) could be considered “cool” and “cute” and “catchy” and “modern”, by some folks, but it was also downright ridiculous and misleading.

  10. I posted this on twitter, but thought it belonged here too, perhaps even at greater length:

    @climateprogress Consider that your tweet about why journos shouldn’t Twitter led me to read several thousand words of your work.

    The fact is, after seeing the Twitter post, I came here, read the article, and then read several others, including the first Superfreak post and one on environmental economics. Of course, I know you’re a scientist, writer, and advocate (especially writing for CAPAF), and the message was that journalists shouldn’t use Twitter.

    But speaking as a former journalist (and advocate), I don’t think the problem was the medium; I think the problem was the writer’s skill at writing and editing very brief statements and evaluating sources. The same problem is as likely to lead to crap analysis at length. Perhaps the problem is the absence of editors.

    [JR: My tweeting is limited to Twitter taking each headline and URL and turning it to a tweet. As long as one links back to one’s substantive argument/analysis, twittering is fine.]

  11. The main adult purpose of Twitter (aside from light humor or zen philosophy) is to call others’ attention to interesting articles. The summaries one attaches should be carefully crafted such as to indicate the matter of interest and identify who would be interested.

    It’s an amusing game to try to get the right information in the tiny space allowed; one doesn’t always succeed.

    Tweets should never carry an opinion without linking to an elaboration from the tweeter or someone the tweeter agrees with. I agree that Revkin should have thought more carefully and didn’t produce much added value in the tweets you complain about.

    “Romm says X (link to Romm) but Y” is bad if Romm doesn’t say X, and worthless if there is no defense for Y. A good tweet is not a hugely time consuming thing but takes a good fifteen minutes of thought and crafting and presumes a careful reading of the provided links.

    That in no way means the medium is useless. Making the most of Twitter is both a taste and a skill, and perhaps it’s not for everybody, but it can be extremely worthwhile. There are aspects of its simple design that are brilliant, some of which are of particular interest to journalists.

  12. PeterW says:

    Graham, makes an excellent point. Even with his much larger blog posts and columns Revkin sill couldn’t get it right.

  13. MarkB says:

    Revkin: “Not what climate scientists see”

    I’m not sure why journalists feel the need to think or present information in binary terms. Australia’s climate conditions over the past year must either be “CO2-driven” (somehow excluding other manmade forcings), or “not CO2-driven”. If there’s a study on the impact of natural oscillations like ENSO or SAM, it must mean CO2 plays no part.

  14. riverat says:

    italics off.

  15. Thanks for addressing those tweets. They seemed a little off-handed and ridiculous at the time. Of course, I’m one of the tweeting journalists who is probably doing exactly what you’re decrying.

  16. Paul Klemencic says:

    I rise to defend Andy Revkin… His blog and reporting raised this issue and awareness for me, and I think in general, he has tried to do a good job. He recently fell into some carefully laid traps by people who want to obscure important issues. Clearly his accumulated reporting clearly shows the need to control GHG emissions. I feel arguing among the people supporting action is counterproductive.

    Unfortunately climate science involves some complicated subject material. The difficulty lies in providing an accurate description for the lay audience. Providing an even handed description of the current research to people (such as some engineers, chemists and some science teachers) trained in the basics of subjects like radiation physics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, statistical treatment of collected data, and basic physical issues like moisture content of air with rising temperature and albedo effect has proven to be difficult. RealClimate provides the best description of the science, but the discussion there requires deep understanding of atmospheric science, complex statistical analytical methods, the paleontological record, and an in-depth understanding of radiation physics, which fewer than one person in a thousand understands. The vast majority of the population aren’t able to understand the science if explained at this level. Reporting on climate change issues to the lay person requires simple accurate descriptions. And discussing different scenario forecasts becomes problematic, since accurate forecasts require extending beyond what we know with a very high degree of certainty (the level of certainty required for published scientific literature) to things we know are probable or likely, but can’t prove to the certainty level required for publishing.

    A good example is sea level rise; we know with a high degree of certainty that the rate of ocean heating and current levels of ice melt will cause roughly 0.5 to 1.0 meter of SLR by 2100, and if not then by 2150 with an even higher degree of certainty. But given the dynamic nature of land based ice melt, and increasing GHG levels, we can probably expect higher SLR, and in some BAU GHG emission cases get SLR over 2 meters. This would require the rate of SLR to move up from 3 mm per year to a rate closer to 30-40 mm per year by 2100; more than a tenfold increase. It could happen, but scientists don’t have a strong enough understanding of the dynamics of land based ice melt to put an uncertainty band on the prediction. The IPCC report clearly states this. But from what we do know, the scientists can construct reasonable models that give an exponential rise in ice melt and that show SLR to this level. Knowledgeable scientists in the field can conclude a significant risk exists, even if they cannot prove it to a high degree of certainty.

    At some point we must rely on the accumulated wisdom of our most knowledgeable experts when it comes to disastrous consequences. Let us rise to the level of the most knowledgeable of our species, and not limit ourselves to the lower level of knowledge possessed by the bulk of humanity. Beyond simply their knowledge base, we need to rely on the accumulated know-how and wisdom of the most knowledgeable experts among us.

    This poses several problems for science reporting that aren’t limited to Andy Revkin. Improving the situation requires a more systemic examination of climate science reporting, and more importantly, an examination of reporting on forecasts and policy discussions. When a reasonably knowledgeable reporter like Andy Revkin misses some critical issues, this clearly indicates that the reporting system needs improvement.

  17. For instance:

    @mtobis

    via @EnergyCollectiv NYTimes perpetrates “a mugging” re climate change: http://bit.ly/4PHFK8

  18. Regarding how journalists tend to look at science, there is no better summary than this parable: http://drboli.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/the-duck/

  19. Anna Haynes says:

    “no better summary than this parable” – thanks (again) MT, that one is indeed wonderful. Tweetable url: http://bit.ly/theduck
    :-}

    Suggestion for Joe and others: keep score, at least for a while; declare that [tweeter] owes you $1 for each misrepresentation, and show the cumulative $s owed. It helps when there are measurable, visible, persistent consequences for misrepresentation.

  20. Anna Haynes says:

    It seems “italics off” must come from Joe; Joe, can you revisit your edit to comment#8?

    [JR: Weird. The code was normal.]

  21. Reporting on the existence of complexity does not erase a solid foundation of science. Too often Revkin and his defenders are eager to completely dismiss anything that is merely “highly probable”.

    We are fairly certain that we have a heliocentric solar system, despite some huge complexity in orbital mechanics and the 3 body problem. But we do not dismiss the science that we hold because of continuing research.

    Science reporters need to decide whether they are reporting the story (which happens to have a science component) or reporting on the process of science as it happens to include this issue. Doing both is a sure recipe for failure.

  22. Jeff Huggins says:

    “Calling Dr. Brulle”

    Dear Dr. Brulle,

    Andy Revkin (Dot Earth, New York Times) has used a rather lengthy comment from you to (as I interpret what he says) substantially excuse and try to partly “justify” the media’s coverage of climate change and to claim or imply that dramatically improved media coverage wouldn’t substantially help.

    The ambiguous and slippery-slidey “logic” (of Andy’s in this case) ignores differences between ‘is’ and ‘ought’, ignores the supposed (and often claimed) role and responsibility of journalism to society, and (I hope) doesn’t reflect conclusions that you yourself would actually draw simply from the descriptive and explanatory discussions of the problems you mention, without regard for the difference between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ and for the whole notion of how the media are SUPPOSED to serve a democratic society.

    Please, please, let us (and Dot Earth) know whether you agree with what Andy seems to imply: i.e., that the media are doing their jobs just about as well as they could and should be doing them, and that dramatically improved coverage (in quality as well as quantity) couldn’t make a substantial improvement to society’s state of understanding or willingness and ability to begin addressing the matter?

    Do you agree with those assessments that Andy seems to state, or strongly imply, in his recent Dot Earth thread, which are the same as those that he has argued periodically over the last several years?

    If so, please let me know why, or if not, please (if you don’t mind) correct Andy clearly (on Dot Earth) to make sure he understands the difference between “is” and “ought”, the naturalistic fallacy, the supposed responsibility of the news media and journalism to society, and the fact that dramatically improved coverage COULD indeed have a substantial impact on where we stand today and how we begin to face and address climate change going forward.

    Thanks for your consideration, Dr. Brulle.

    Be Well,

    Jeff Huggins

  23. Dan B says:

    Anna Haynes;

    As an amateur enthusiast of communications and marketing (with personal relationships with several academic communications experts and professional marketers) I congratulate and thank you for your suggestions about communication. They are clear, simple, and effective, if implemented.

    The suggestion of $1 penalty for inaccurate and misleading tweets is superb! It would be wonderful to devise a simple comparison between the cost of building more coal plants and burning more oil vs. converting to clean energy – including “externalities”.

    Thanks again for your clear suggestions!

    Dan

  24. Hate to disagree with Joe, but still I do. The issue with Twitter is the same as with every other form of journalism–it’s necessary to be careful and stick to the facts. That may be a little more challenging with 140 characters, but it can be done. Your blog, Joe, is filled with examples of folks with thousands more characters at their disposal who have gotten the facts wrong. If you have 140 characters or 140,000, accuracy is important.

  25. Leif says:

    Soldiers take orders to survive. Reporters should be “investigating” to present consensus “truth” to unanswered questions so that the public will be well informed come judgement time. If the “reporters ” reach a preordained conclusion, and I believe most have, then their opinions get as muddled as the masses. (Also recall their job depends on sales.) Failure to “investigate” means that you just rewrite history, (think 1984), you become soldiers, not “reporters.” Freedom of speech is a corner stone of any democracy, without you REPORTERS, we cannot stand as a democracy. All this falls on the backs of the editors so I blame them first.
    Perhaps one tactic is to be merciless with the editors. Hit them with every “big gun” we got. Get people, CP, to the top of twitter? What ever that means?

    Very good insight offered by Graham, #10. Thank you. There appears to advantages to explore this Twitter thing more. First thing in the morning.

  26. Zan says:

    Of course wheher journalists should tweet
    is a very serious question. I’ll ponder that.
    On the lighter side, these heroic battles with
    being misunderstood are making me nostalgic
    for the letters section of the N Y Review of Books.

  27. Danny Bloom says:

    Joe, the real panic won’t come for another 500 years…… 2020 will be just like today…. And leave Andy Revkin alone. He is part of the team. in fact, 2100 AD will dawn, same same……the Great Interruption will begin around 2499 AD……. the next 200 years are a piece of cake, just more blue state red state meshagus…… more rightwing leftwing axes to grind.. relax and get ready for polar cities, which in your denial you refuse to discuss. ….why?. your descendants will be living in them…

  28. ken levenson says:

    Andy Revkin’s dim bulb is starting to sputter….

    Danny Bloom, where do you get your time line from? Is it possible you’ve spent too much time hanging out at Dot Earth?

  29. Andy says:

    Well, off-topic but the Houston Chronicle on Jan 1st showed what you can do with a traditional news media. Now that the weather has become a controversial news item, they’ve started including a front page city/state section graphic each Jan. 1 that shows the year’s weather in review. Unfortunately the graphic is not viewable on their web page. The graphic is a histogram with each day’s temps represented along with lines showing avg. high and low temps. All record highs, record lows, and warmest low temp record pointed out. We had the earliest recorded snowfall this December; the same storm that brought record snow to DC. This snowfall (an inch or less) was pointed out by a commenter in the Non-Blizzard CP progress. They were stating that global warming was dead.

    Though that snowfall is what people will remember about Houston’s weather in 2009, here are the yearly stats:

    1 record low – 26 on Dec. 5th

    12 record highs including 12 days of consecutive 100+ in June and two days of 104 in June, the highest temp ever recorded in June

    25 record warmest lows – including low temps higher than avg high temps

    2nd warmest June, 2nd warmest July

    driest May 1 through Sept 1 period ever

    3rd wettest April, 5th wettest October – especially remarkable because we didn’t have a tropical storm in October

    I’d say Houston is experiencing exactly what global warming theory predicts.

  30. Richard Brenne says:

    Andy –

    PLZ RD J-ROM THOROLE, KP CN-TXT, SS, NNC, MYBE MRE 140 CCTERS.

    NO MR SWAG OR ITS TEOTWAWKI.

    THX,

    Richard

  31. Edward says:

    31 Richard Brenne: Could I have a translation of that, please?

  32. SecularAnimist says:

    With regard to Revkin’s “second tweet” (ie. “Joe R still sees Aussie’s Big Dry as co2-driven event … Not what climate scientists see …”), Revkin is plainly, simply, laughably, embarrassingly, perhaps even dishonestly, WRONG in the substantive claim that he makes.

    And he would be just exactly as WRONG if he presented the same claim in 1,000 word article.

    However, as far as appropriate use of “tweeting”, I don’t have any problem with Revkin’s use of the medium.

    Revkin makes his (albeit WRONG) point succinctly and clearly, and provides links to the two lengthy articles that he’s referring to, all within the 140-character constraint. He tells the recipient exactly what he has on his mind, and exactly where to go to find out more about it (in this case, as it happens, to find out that he is WRONG).

    Again — Revkin is WRONG, but that’s not a problem with “tweeting”, it’s a problem with Revkin being WRONG. An assertion that is WRONG remains WRONG in whatever medium it is communicated.

    But as far as whether Revkin’s use of “tweeting” per se is effective or appropriate, I think it is actually an exemplary use of the medium to concisely present an idea and the links needed to follow it up.

  33. Richard Brenne says:

    Edward (#31):

    Thanks for asking! I text-twitt-tweete – okay, wrote:

    PLZ RD J-ROM THOROLE, KP CN-TXT, SS, NNC, MYBE MRE 140 CCTERS.

    NO MR SWAG OR ITS TEOTWAWKI.

    Translation:

    Andy –

    Please read Joe Romm thoroughly, keeping context, sound science, nuance and maybe more than 140 characters.

    No more Scientific Wild-Ass Guessing or it is The End Of The World As We Know It.

    Thanks,

    Richard

  34. ella janes says:

    do agree

  35. ella janes says:

    re: Ken Levenson above, post 28: re : “Danny Bloom, where do you get your time line from? Is it possible you’ve spent too much time hanging out at Dot Earth?”

    Possible. He does tend to post there alot.

  36. Ron Taylor says:

    Andy Revkin has become a great disappointment to me, after having following his NYT blog for several years. I can’t decide if the change is because (1) he does not want to incure the wrath of the radical right (a problem for much of the media), or, (2) he simply wants to make a living now that he has left the NYT. In any case, his reporting on climate science has increasingly become a compromise of conclusions based on scientific evidence to accomodate the perspectives of fossil fuel interests. It is very, very sad. And it began before he left the NYT.