"In Defense of Twitter"
The arrival of Twitter has been, frankly, a great moment for professional bloggers. Now it’s a new thing for everyone to hate! And nobody wants me to get off journalism’s lawn anymore. Ezra Klein can go work for the Washington Post, and Noam Scheiber can blog against Twitter while overlooking the irony. But I like Twitter! I like it so much that I have two accounts.
After reading Matt Bai’s piece in the New York Times Magazine yesterday, I’d like to explain why I tweet and post here on Tumblr. His thesis is that twitter is banal and superficial and therefore not a good fit within the context of politics and Congressional activity. Of the 100’s of tweets that my thumbs are responsible for, he chose to highlight a reply I made to someone who had asked about my favorite meal at Taco Bell. Admittedly, this is definitely not important stuff.
But – like many in Washington – he misses the point.
I think McCaskill’s populist defense of Twitter is ultimately not that interesting. The larger issue, it seems to me, is that the idea of a “banal and superficial” medium simply doesn’t make much sense. Law & Order is banal and superficial; The Wire is not. Dave Weigel has the best political twitter feed out there and it’s great. I think there’s some okay stuff on my feed. But more to the point, if it’s bad then blame me don’t blame the medium.
There’s no tool so good as to produce good work when badly used.