Twitter And Scholarly Discourse
January 17, 2011
Roxie’s World has an outstanding post up concerning the role that twitter played at this big MLA (Modern Language Assembly?) humanities shindig that just happened in LA.
She takes a balanced view on the roles of twitter as a communication medium for scholars, but also expresses some concerns. For example, of the approximately 7000 tweets that were published about the meeting, about 3000 of them emanated from just ten people at the meeting. Just think about that for a moment.
Now, for my unbalanced view: I absolutely 100% refuse to write or read on twitter, and for reasons that are partially captured by Roxie’s blog post.
First, I believe that it–like Facebook–is deeply destructive of the mental operation of contemplation. The entire intrinsic structure of the medium is 100% oriented towards MORE, FASTER, BRIEFER, SUPERFICIALER communication. It is about collecting: friends, links, retweets, followers, hashtags, etc, and not about describing, explaining, or contemplating. It is about avoiding deep thought, not embracing it.
Second, it is about DOMINATING discourse, not diversifying it. Yeah, it might be a different set of people who are using it to dominate than who are using traditional modes of scholarly communication, but ten people at this meeting posted 300 fucken tweets each!?!? Jeezus fucke. It is about defining insiders and outsiders. (And no way were those poor compulsive twittering assholes even able to listen to the sessions they were at or genuinely participate in them: see my first concern above.)
Third, it is grossly destructive of the practice of constructing decent complete grammatical sentences in the English language (and, I’m sure, other languages that poor dumb twittering fuckes in other countries use). Why should I learn to read and write in some bizarre semaphoric bastardized illiterate form of English language just so that a bunch of assholes can whip out hundreds of least-common-denominator atomized communications as fast as possible like it’s some kind of massive throbbing cocke to smack other people in the face with? Get your fucken twitdicke out of my face: I’m not interested.
Fourth, it enables a form of herd behavior with masses of people rushing around like lunatics flogging their fucken hashtags and leaping off rhetorical cliffs that I find extremely distasteful. What’s the fucken hurry? Do I really need access to anyone’s thoughts but my own in real time?
Fifth, at the end of the day, it’s corporate shill shitte. Some massive corporation is leveraging off content that users provide them for free in order to make fucketonnes of money. No thanks.