Wednesday, August 01, 2012

An Olympian Twitter Fail

The misunderstanding of media users is that there has ever been a time in which people could write whatever they wanted and have it published whenever they pleased. Fifty years ago, newspapers regularly limited letters to the editor to maximum lengths and reserved the right not to publish them at all. 


It took some effort to type a letter and mail it, the address and name of the writer were usually required, and it might take several days for the letter to be published, if it was ever published at all. 


 If you didn’t want to work through a newspaper, you could always publish your views on your own. That required a mimeograph or a copy machine, you had to distribute your rag on your own, and it was expensive. 


Now you can publish your opinion on just about anything at a marginal cost approaching zero. It costs nothing but a few minutes of time to create a blog, and you can post to Twitter or Facebook as soon as the thought hits you. Writing comments to an article can be done in near anonymity, and they’re much easier to compose electronically than on a typewriter. The time from thought to publication has dropped to seconds. 


All of this gives us the illusion of unfettered free expression, and in truth, we’re closer to that ideal than we have ever been. But it remains an ideal; the reality is something else.


A great piece on the Olympian Twitter Fail and a better understanding of what this medium entails.  Nice find JB.

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