"Some time soon, the company won’t say when, the 100-millionth person will have signed on to Twitter to follow and be followed by friends and strangers. That may sound like a MySpace waiting to happen — remember MySpace? — but I’m convinced Twitter is here to stay."He backs up this bold statement with several articulate arguments:
- It's a source of "incredibly vital, timely information... from really bright people in their respective fields".
- It's a means by which we can glean succinct, pithy information in lieu of spouting-off, because of the 140-character confines and tools like the hashtag (which collects comments by topic).
- It's a source of "algorithmic authority", in his words, "meaning that if all kinds of people are pointing at the same thing at the same instant, it must be a pretty big deal."
I support the use of social media products like Facebook and Twitter for just that- social media. But the threat of corrosion of quality news media and literary craft is undeniably due, in part, to the spreading-like-a-virus use of these communicative tools. Why painstakingly construct a well-reported and -composed piece of narrative writing to spark debate when an economical 140-character message blasted into the digital cosmos will accomplish the same? I'm not claiming that award-worthy writing is dead, or dying. I'm just worried that the overlap in usage- social and professional- in a creative product like Twitter is working toward a level medium in which we'll forget there was ever a difference between the two.
Perhaps the most worrisome: Carr wrote his editorial January 1, the first day of a new decade. A coincidence? Or is his message, then, harbinger of our publishing future?