Monday, July 27, 2009

mindful attention

a friend recently posted this article on facebook, concerning the limiting aspect of twitter for the newspaper world and the philosophy behind it:

"i worry that microblogging cheats my students out of their trump card: a mindful attention to the subject in front of them, so that they can capture its sights and sounds, its smells and tactile qualities, to share with readers. how can twittering stories from laptops and phones possibly replace the attentive journalist who tucks a digital recorder artfully under a notepad, pencil behind one ear, and gives full attention to the subject at hand?"

the author, a journalism professor, worries that twitter is come to be seen as the sole neccessary venue by which to convey information--that is, the newspaper article (online or otherwise), with its thoroughly investigated knowledge, is superfluous.

we've started playing with twitter in regards to admissions, but i question how much value it really has. i'm willing to go along for the ride and experiment with 'twittering,' say, application review, but to hear that so many people see the space of 140 characters as a replacement for a fuller--and consequently more accurate--account of the most important moments of human record, is kind of unsettling.

it also makes me wonder, am i joined in this feeling, or have i become too old for my generation? maybe i'm supposed to embrace twitter more. but i couldn't have told you all of this in the space of 140 characters.


bx said...

Twitter is more of a medium we can use to get people interested in a subject, point to more information, or just say something quick. It should never act as a replacement for an article. It is just a starting point. The news tweets I follow always have a link to an article.

Agatha Wells said...

yes, that's exactly what i think--what this professor is concerned about, i think, is that people seem to want the 'tweet' instead of the full article-they don't want to click through to get all of the actual information.

it's not just for the classroom!