Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On Twitter and Nicholas Carr

His [Carr] biggest worry is that we are "breaking experience and culture into its smallest possible bits and interrupting ourselves with it." He calls us "nibblers of information," and while he has two dormant Twitter accounts that he mostly uses for research, he’s turning it all off - as he often does with his blog - to focus on his next book.

I am still torn. Twitter, at first a curiosity, has turned into an annoying fad, a way for today's modern celebrity, hiding behind a ghost-tweeter, to seem normal while the untalented dress up their lives like carnival barkers (micro-celebrities, Carr calls them).

Twitter's benefits are drowned out by the trumpets of some revolution and the rising volume of its place as a status symbol, best summed up in Steven Colbert's response on The Today’s Show.

Its promise, I'm afraid, is more banal, more utilitarian. For one, it is re-inventing the fourth estate, rewarding creative and investigative journalism by forcing us to read beyond the spoon-fed news. Each day your own hand-selected group of insight spotters push you into the cracks and crevices of the world; each day you can monitor a new research topic, stumbling upon your wildest StumbleUpons. The sources may sometimes be specious, but that's all a glorious part of the discovery.

Fritz Nelson of Infomation Week on Nick Carr.

It's true. Twitter is my new news-needs feed. And it is a great research tool; once you know who knows what.

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