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All People Matter

Twitter In Politics—The Few Become More Removed From The Many

The following  article about politicians using Twitter was in the May 4 Miami Herald— ( Above–Miami.) 

“Last week, Alec Rosen declared his candidacy for city commissioner in South Miami — via Twitter. It’s a first for Miami politics, he says. ”It allows us to communicate directly with people who find something in value in what it is you have to say — in 140 characters or less,” Rosen says. He’ll compete for the seat against Rene Guim, who also plans to tweet during his campaign. Miami Beach public information officer Nannette Rodriguez tweets, too. So does Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, under the name IRL. Following their every tweet are a host of community activists in Palmetto Bay, Coconut Grove, Doral and elsewhere with fast fingers on Blackberrys, iPhones and laptops. They’ve all mastered the art of the 140-character missive — the limitation of Twitter messages. … that it’s better to reach 500 people who want to receive your message than sending to 50,000 people who don’t care,” Rodriguez says. That quote, by the way, would be too long by 10 characters or so in tweetspeak.” ( Please click here for the full article.)

My theory about Twitter is that it takes people who would have been part of an educated and aware elite at any point regardless of the technology of the day, and makes them even more remote from day-to-day life.

This article did not change my view.  It seems that Twitter has people “in the know” sending an endless loop of  messages to each other. This very notion of insiders talking to insiders is a selling point of Twitter. At least to the extent you can say that something that’s free has a selling point.

Many people don’t have iphones, Blackberrys or laptops. Many don’t have the time to send Twitter messages or may feel they would not be able to express themselves very well on Twitter. 

The Miami Beach Public Information officer mentioned in the story says it is better to reach the few people who care rather than a larger number of people who don’t care. But how can she know who cares and who does not?  I’m certain that many people in Miami Beach care about their community and at the same time have not signed up with Twitter.

Life is fragmented enough as it is and political power is concentrated enough already. We should be looking for ways to reach out  and explain what we are doing. Instead, with Twitter we are limit ourselves to a relatively small community of people under the absurd constraint of only 140 characters per message.

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May 6, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 5 Comments