Attendance at the June, 2009 Edelman New Media Academic Summit in Washington, D.C. convinced me that social networking is advancing the importance of engagement.
The mass media 20th Century era of newspapers, radio and television emphasized one-way communication, but this new time is all about the computer-mediated communication (CMC) concepts of identity, interaction and community.
Enter my summer of discovery on Twitter and Facebook.
The 140-character world of the tweet is fascinating. I like the way that stories unfold on twitter.com over time. For example, I began following Internet pioneer John Perry Barlow as he apparently was getting back on his feet:
johnperrybarlow I get out of rehab today. I hope I've been permanently habbed. Weird to dread leaving an alcoholic's Abu Graib.
Once out and about Barlow quickly became frustrated with Twitter and its brevity:
johnperrybarlow In the history of human expression, there has been no medium more ephemeral than Twitter. Genius lasts 10 minutes.
johnperrybarlow Enough. That was my swan-tweet. I'm going to learn to carve letters in stone. Which may breed real economy of thought.
Somewhere in the background was the role that Twitter users had played early in the summer in reporting and supporting the Iranian uprising. Supporters had shaded their Twitter photos green:
johnperrybarlow I'm sorry. One last tweet. We have been hugely self-congratulatory about Twitter and the Green Revolution.
I was sad to see Barlow leaving Twitter and decided to engage him one night. Much to my pleasant surprise, he responded:
johnperrybarlow@JeremyHL Yeah. I'm starting to have second thoughts. Maybe I'll get over my bad self and slink on back.
And later he did:
johnperrybarlow I'm slinking back on Twitter. It appears that more of you were listening than I thought. Sorry for the tantrum.
Deggans Today show anchor sez more than 300,000 responses came in to its poll on Michele Obama's shorts. For some reason, this depresses me.BulldogReporter Angry Travelers Flock to Twitter with Airline Gripes: "United airlines, you are the bane of my existence," reads.. http://bit.ly/8SBklAnnCurry Okay, here's my photo of Helen Thomas' reaction when asked if she would join Twitter. http://tinyurl.com/ln6lsgchrismachian A New York Times cover I did is now a book. (I did the cover photo) http://tinyurl.com/ourboysLozaFina Ok... So, I guess I'm going to Hooters tomorrow after all. Smile.FvrythingPR My Forever Pet Peeves: Publicity=Public Relations. http://bit.ly/5JyWz
rickmurray May be the company I keep, but my facebook friends out-engage my Twitter followers 20:1