Meanwhile, underneath the prevalence of the public apology is a great public wrong. And so we, the public, we want someone to do something. We want the offending column fixed, the black woman comedian hired, the bill to pass, banks to lend safely, clean drinking water, health care, a job, even just a book recommendation we can count on. We want action on whatever it is, and we go to Twitter for it, feed fatigue and all, because there, unlike just about everywhere else, we still get what we’re after. Twitter, for all the ridiculousness there, is one of the few places where there’s accountability at all for any of this. While it may feel dangerous that no one is above being taken down by Twitter, it also means that in its way, it is the one truly democratic institution left. It may be terrifying that it is the one place you have to be more careful than most, but that is also why, for now, it still matters.-
I really recommend clicking through and reading in its entirety. It’s a great counteranalysis to all the “Twitter wars” nonsense.
It’s not clear what people understand when they say Twitter – they think of Twitter as a network and say it’s not representative and compare it to polls, for example. That is the wrong way to look at it – look at it as an information platform and then you start looking at what influential people who create the news are saying. The media, and I do not simply mean mainstream media, does influence public opinion. From a communication and a policy perspective that’s very, very valuable. It’s less about the representativeness of the platform as a whole; it’s more about the representativeness of the expertise and the influences within whichever topic you’re interested in. Because obviously you can’t poll the population from Twitter; but let’s say you want to understand the views surrounding a health issue then you have a great opportunity to gather the opinions of experts on that specific topic by monitoring Twitter data. That can be valuable evidence to inform policy.-
SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLIC POLICY (Link to PDF)
After you read the article at The Nation about the “mean WoC” on Twitter click the link and read this paper. Then I invite you to chew on how this think tank produced the research, funded by the British government to spell out how social media influences not only policy but public discourses and civic engagement. After you’ve thought about that, consider what all these pieces about “mean people on Twitter” are really about. Especially, keep in mind these points vis a vis who owns the media that publishes them.
Our community has largely been defined by not-poor straight white men over the years, but it’s growing more diverse every day as kids get excited about technology and adults realize our industry is fast-growing and valuable. Diversity does not end at gender or sexuality or race; people with a wide variety of life experiences and opinions have joined the community. This is a wonderful thing, but it also means that there will be a wider range of reactions and more potential for miscommunication. In other words, we have many more opportunities to decide whether we 1) belittle and ostracize people for being different from us or 2) react with empathy, patience, and kindness.-
Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, on racism and sexism in online, geek communities.
The reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys. This is the conclusion of a year-long Pew Research Center study that compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets in response to eight major news events, including the outcome of the presidential election, the first presidential debate and major speeches by Barack Obama.-
Also, from the report released today: “At times the Twitter conversation is more liberal than survey responses, while at other times it is more conservative. Often it is the overall negativity that stands out.”
So, Twitter’s collective consciousness is neither liberal nor conservative… just angry?
I think the comment sections of many “progressive” media should be renamed to “white and wealthy middle classes judge other people’s lives devoid of context of survival strategies or personal circumstances while hiding behind the alibi of “social commentary”“. (see the comments on the post about waxing I already raged about for a glaring example).
But this idea that we are trading the offline for the online, though it dominates how we think of the digital and the physical, is myopic. It fails to capture the plain fact that our lived reality is the result of the constant interpenetration of the online and offline. That is, we live in an augmented reality that exists at the intersection of materiality and information, physicality and digitality, bodies and technology, atoms and bits, the off and the online. It is wrong to say “IRL” to mean offline: Facebook is real life.- The IRL Fetish - NATHAN JURGENSON - The New Inquiry
Which brings us to the first consequence. That what you write has an effect. If you write something racially offensive then those you have offended will be less likely to participate. The hostile environment to which you have contributed will also become, by definition, a limited and limiting one. What you end up with is a community, where people are excluded because of who they are that then shrinks to a fetid ecosystem including only people who are just like you.-
This is a great piece by Gary Younge. I am only quoting a short paragraph because I wanted to copy/paste the whole thing.
Sometimes I just look at my children and think about the time when they had my vagina round their neck.-
The Swedish government has been handing over the @sweden Twitter account to a different citizen each week, and this week’s owner is steering the car right off a social media cliff.
The quote above is part of a long string of racist, homophobic and just plain bizarre tweets from the “Swedish citizen” handling the account this week. Eh, eventually it had to happen, for seven months they had nothing but nice and amiable users tweeting from the account. And now they have this.
My Tumblr posts are not always very well thought out (well, not that my non Tumblr posts are, but that’s another topic altogether). I sometimes respond to comments on the fly and don’t necessarily flesh out style or proper paragraph breaks. My Tumblr posts sometimes contain typos or kinda broken grammar (especially if I am working with sources in a language other than English and translating them as I type). However, even though some of the posts can have a draft-like quality, I do consider the words I use. So, yesterday I vented about the European boycott over the Eurovision Song Festival. Now, I fully acknowledge that it wasn’t a ground breaking post or super meaningful or even all that original. It was written in a couple of minutes just to share immediacy, to express something that was relevant to yesterday’s news cycle.
In the post I used the expression “these Othered bodies” to refer to the way the EU deals with undocumented immigrants and internment camps. This wasn’t a typo. This wasn’t a mistake or something that I misused. This was fully intentional and central to my politics. So, when someone reblogs this post and changes the expression to “these other bodies”, they are actually changing the very basis of my politics. I know it is a trivial and a small issue, pretty inconsequential, etc. However, it is worth noting that these changes in meaning (which we cannot control) are also of a political nature. And I’d say not exactly free of ideology either.
If you haven’t seen this incredible Tumblrite on your dash, then I’m guessing you’re new around these parts or you just haven’t been properly introduced or the folks you do follow just don’t follow her.
Read ALL OF IT at the link!
It is OK not to have an opinion about certain topics. It is OK to say “I do not have enough information or knowledge of this subject to have an informed opinion”. It is totally acceptable to not say anything on those occasions when people are discussing issues you might have never been exposed to before or have no experience with. Just because the option of leaving a comment is available, it doesn’t mean you need to exercise it.
Tumblr is on the cusp of doing something quite incredible. Google searches mentioning the service are poised to surpass searches for ‘blog’ by the end of the year, showing that the New York-based company has truly established itself as the Web’s most popular blogging platform.- 'Tumblr' Poised to Overtake 'Blog' on Google Searches
When I was managing the Tumblr of Newsweek magazine, I had two goals,” told Mark Coatney , who has since been hired by Tumblr and became their “media evangelist.” “The first was to provide Newsweek, whose readers have an average of 57 years, to an audience who do not read.-
Bit patronising for our taste, but interesting…
FINALLY! Now we understand the Social Media strategy that led Newsweek to post stuff like this to “celebrate” International Women’s Day! See? it was just a way to attract a “younger” demographic!