Tweeting @ The Gates

I’m beginning to detect a certain resistance by the new media folks to the really new media.  Long form bloggers are finding that instead of merely a promotional tool, Twitter is now competing for their audience’s attention.  I’ve no fear blogs will survive as fully developed thoughts are more often something that takes more than 140 characters to explain.  Books and magazines haven’t disappeared with the surge in online media, neither will blogs.  Newspapers may have to realign their business model, but they aren’t going away.  TV’s been around a long time, yet the most powerful Conservative in America is a radio host.

But there are murmurs.

Ezra Klein Tweets: “As a blogger I feel about Twitter the way MSM journos felt about blogs. Could probably get someone to pay good money for an essay on that.”  However, his dicta in a thoughtful piece about the economy betrays a mild hint of superiority:

Andrew Golis twitters, “assuming (for sake of arg) the stimulus stops the bleeding, what replaces the actual day to day GDP lost in finance and housing.” If I were twittering back, I’d probably says, “nothing totally replaces it. Consumption will be lower.” But I’m not Twittering. I’m blogging. So: More words!

Atrios has a style that fits perfectly with Twitter, mastered the short-form blog years ago.  Although he “Deeply Thinks” The revolution will not be Twittered, the short, snide comment with a link or TwitPic attached mimics the brevity and provocative nature of Eschaton for all to exploit.  We can all be Duncan Black and enjoy a far-flung commentariate with this new social-media tool.  It’s really made for him, and every one of us who wants our blog to grow up just like his.  On the right Professor Instalinker detects the same phenomenon, but in a much more paranoid and delusional way.

There are more than a few bloggers who see Twitter as just a way to get more hits for their stat counters and engage in annoying self-promotion without the courtesy of actually interacting with their would-be audience (I’m talking to you Mr. Sirota).  I did the same thing until recently, just setting up an autofeed from my blog to tweet what I posted.  But like all things social, be it meeting the significant other’s folks or gathering an audience to read your stuff, ya gotta actually talk to people for them to care what you have to say — and that means listening to them and responding like something more than a computer generated automaton.

There are people out there. Why are you blogging if not to reach out and make them think/laugh/cry or praise your awesomeness?  Talk to them.  Tweet with the Tweeple, it’ll do you good. Best way to get started is to start following folks who are following people you already like.  If you’re reading this and liking it, check these folks out.  Twitter is the world’s largest comment section, and the world is the blog — but you only need to read the comments of Tweeple you like.

I discovered that you can sync your Facebook status with Twitter and the output from your blog’s RSS feed a while back — but wait, there’s more!  You can also automatically tweet items you share on Google Reader.  That’s my latest discovery.  Before, when I’d see an article I liked, with a click a link would appear on my blog’s sidebar, but that was it — now it can go viral on Twitter too.

For Breaking News, I’ve seen nothing like Twitter.  America has become a nation of citizen reporters armed with Blackberries and iPhones that posted word (and pictures) of a plane landing in the Hudson and Fireballs over Texas on Twitter before any other media, period.

As most “real” news agencies were just beginning to spread word that we might be seeing debris of a satellite collision over Siberia raining down on Dallas, Bad Astronomer (Dr. Phil Plait) was debunking that theory on Twitter as unfounded speculation and pronounced it impossible from pictures he saw and the video he was linking to — on Twitter.  His long form explanation was blogged – and he’s still putting out fires on this.  Oh he got “Dugg” and “Up’d” on Reddit, even picked up via SlashDot, but the horse’s mouth was Twittering as it happened.

As a link aggravater, peanut gallery, and shameless self-promotion tool, Twitter has found the niche all the other social media sites have been looking for — an actual interactive community that matters.  I’ve heard it said that Twitter is like  cross between a chat room and instant messaging.  Many turorials abound, I like this one.  To me, it’s like a blog with no front-pager and you are the moderator choosing which rabble you listen to and what the topic should be.  It matters because you can shape it to matter to you.

I participated in a Twitter “event” this weekend that had me clucking in laughter as I gave my wife a play-by-play description of two people tweeting their disastrous blinddatelive as it happened –between a rightwing guy and a lady he didn’t know was the very liberal girl he called a “feminazi” online some weeks ago.  “Geez. This jackass is ORDERING FOR ME. Red flag. Plus I can’t order porkulus now“  Comedy gold.

I say “participate” because I, like everyone else following along in real time, could chime in with the audience and get responses from the couple — at least from her since he didn’t have one of those smartphones, just “old-fashioned” text tweets.  The hundreds of Tweeple following along were having a ball at his expense, deservedly so when he Tweeted this at the end:

Starting to think this doesnt end with me scoring. WHY ELSE WOULD YOU DATE A LIBERAL

Right he was.  She was already looking for a cab home.

In the past few weeks, I’ve exchanged Tweets with reporters right inside the White House during the daily press briefing — and not just with Ana Marie Cox when she deigns to put on pants and show up at the gaggle.  But that’s fun too.  So is chatting with Joe Trippi as he starts another day of saving the world or getting David Shuster or Rick Sanchez to ask your question of a guest on CNN or MSNBC.  Keeping up to date with the behind the scenes action on the Rachel Maddow Show or joking around with John Hodgman (the PC guy in the Mac commercials and Daily Show contributor) while watching him perform brain surgery on Battlestar Galactica, it’s all good.

But the best is virtually “meeting” new fun folks and laughing at the absurdity of the rest of the world along with them– especially all those right wingers like Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove and Ken Blackwell who think they’ve found the Rosetta Stone of online organizing/marketing/netroots-astroturfing on Twitter.  Here’s a hint from Frank Rich: “Overdosing on this culture can be fatal.”

In other words, bringing your echo chamber online only makes your bad ideas zip around faster, not better, because they remain part of “a largely white Southern male party with talking points instead of ideas and talking heads instead of leaders,“  exposing them to well deserved ridicule with a click and a smirk — in 140 characters or less.