11:42 AM, Sep 17, 2014 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Over at the New Atlantis, Alan Jacobs has a post arguing that Twitter has changed in a fundamental--and fundamentally unpleasant--way. A sample:
As long as I've been on Twitter (I started in March 2007) people have been complaining about Twitter. But recently things have changed. The complaints have increased in frequency and intensity, and now are coming more often from especially thoughtful and constructive users of the platform. There is an air of defeat about these complaints now, an almost palpable giving-up. For many of the really smart people on Twitter, it's over. Not in the sense that they'll quit using it altogether; but some of what was best about Twitter _ primarily the experience of discovery _ is now pretty clearly a thing of the past.
Recently Marco Arment got into a something of a pissing match on Twitter, and says that he learned a few things from it. For instance, he's going to stop hate-retweeting some of the nastiest comments he gets, which I have always thought was a bad idea anyway. He's going to take more time away from social media. And he's going to reconsider the access to his life that he grants, that all of us grant, to strangers on social media. "We allow people access to us 24/7. We're always in public, constantly checking an anonymous comment box, trying to explain ourselves to everyone, and trying to win unwinnable arguments with strangers who don't matter in our lives at all."
Jacobs isn't the only one_he mentions a couple of other smart writers (Marco Armentand Frank Chimero) who are rethinking Twitter, too. Patton Oswalt took a Twitter hiatus this summer. Even the Atlantic Monthly thinks Twitter is in its twilight (in terms of its value to users, not usage).
Never having been particularly fond of Twitter myself, I don't have a lot to add here. Except for encouragement. Leaving Twitter is a good thing. Think of it this way: There's a finite number of words you're able to read in a lifetime. Do you really want to spend hundreds of thousands of those on Twitter feeds? Me neither.
You'd be much better off spending time with writers who pre-date the Internet age. In recent months I've been reading a lot from two writers_Theodore Dalrymple and Christopher Lasch_who, according the Internet, barely exist. Really: Between the two of them you get fewer than 500,000 results when you do a Google search. Search for Ezra Klein_a 30-year-old blogger who goes on MSNBC_and you get almost 1.4 million.
Yet Dalrymple and Lasch have very Big Things to say about life, power, politics, and the human condition. There are more things in heaven and earth than are catalogued on the Internet. Twitter does not help you discover such things. It obscures them.
If the era of Big Twitter really is coming to a close, it is much to the good.
7:49 AM, Jun 13, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The administration has found at least one fight it is willing to make right to the end. Whatever that end should be. The first lady is rallying supporters to:
May 19, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 34 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
"Nigerian girls inspire international action,” reads the headline on the front page of the May 7 Washington Post. But nowhere in the story will you learn of any action actually being taken to rescue the 276 Nigerian girls abducted over three weeks ago by the Islamic terror group Boko Haram. You find reports of “an international uproar” and “a growing outcry,” of comments by President Barack Obama and phone calls by Secretary of State John Kerry, of warnings by U.N. officials, of a letter from all 20 female U.S.
May 12, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 33 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
There was a lot to lament on Twitter last week, as always, but perhaps nothing more appalling than the spectacle of our diplomats beclowning themselves, as they unleashed their vaunted soft power on Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
As part of the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea, State launched a new hashtag, #UnitedForUkraine.
12:01 PM, Mar 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
His promising career in politics having come to an inglorious – and no doubt temporary – end, Anthony Weiner has turned to punditry.
9:25 AM, Mar 22, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The government of Turkey has pulled the plug on Twitter and the White House is not happy.
10:24 AM, Nov 28, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In his celebrated Thanksgiving proclamation, Abraham Lincoln struck his customary note of hope tinged with a kind of fatalistic melancholy.
12:57 PM, Nov 1, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Stalin once asked sneeringly (that was his style) “how many divisions” the Pope had. The answer, of course, was “none.” But, then, Uncle Joe never had 10 million Twitter followers. That’s almost as many people as the Big Evil killed.
8:34 AM, Oct 8, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
An essential tactic in the shutdown is, it seems, to deprive people of things that they need or badly want. Make them pay. And when their suffering is no longer bearable, they will come back, chastened and grateful for the blessings government bestows upon them … something like that, anyway.
2:03 PM, Oct 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The process of bringing what was then called "Red China" into the light and joining it with the rest of the world began with ping pong. Some seem to think Twitter will be the agent that accomplishes the same thing with Iran. As Nathan Olivarez-Giles at The Verge reports:
1:55 PM, Oct 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Michelle Obama will not be tweeting as frequently, due to the federal government shutdown. The announcement was made today on ... the first lady's Twitter account.
Students skip football games to text and tweet.3:03 PM, Sep 26, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There is much to lament about the rise of social media and the damage it has done to ordinary human activities and interactions. And now we learn that it is leeching away the loyalty of American college students for their football teams. Attendance in the student section is down in, of all places, the Southeastern Conference where they play the best football, produce the most champions, and fans organize their fall schedules, if not their entire lives, around the games.