Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Three Thoughts About Twitter

Three thoughts about Twitter—

1. The two largest groups of my Facebook friends come from either people I’ve encountered through blogging about politics in Houston and Texas, or are people I met 20 or 30 years ago in Cincinnati during my well-spent punk rock youth. I’ve probably got about 200 folks from each of these groups on my Facebook.

Many of my Texas blogger and political friends use Twitter based on the Twitter feeds I see that are automatically set to be posted on Facebook. On the other hand, I’m not aware of a single punk rock friend who uses Twitter.

2. I am increasingly convinced that all those hash tags on Twitter and the abbreviations required to meet the 140 character limit, are somehow part of an evolutionary drive to use language and symbols to drive group cohesion and exclude people who are not in the know. I read that Twitter stuff and I’m just not always sure what people are talking about.

This drive may well reside in the subconscious. Though you can never overstate the cliquishness of both political life and social media. When you combine political life with social media, it seems almost incestuous.

3. While I’m not saying I won’t someday sign on to Twitter, I have not done so to this point. I guess my inner Sid Vicious from my punk rock youth prevails on this matter.

(Below–The Jockey Club in Newport, Kentucky from back in the day. Maybe not so many future Twitterers in that picture.)  

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ongoing Protests In Iran—Links To Learn More

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi turn out to protest the result of the election at a rally in Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran, June 15, 2009

Protests, such the one seen above, are continuing in Iran over the disputed outcome of the Presidential Election.

It seems that the vote was rigged.

People in Iran want more freedom. 

Here are some links to learn more about this subject. It is up to you learn about the world.   

Global Voices Online is a good resource to read about Iranian bloggers and people using Twitter in Iran to talk about what is taking place.

Here is a Los Angeles Times story about the use of technology in the Iran crisis.

Here is the most recent Amnesty International report on Iran.

Here is the BBC on the situation in Iran. There is plenty of information here about what is going on right now and background information about the situation.  

Here is Al Jazeera on the conflict in Iran.

Here is Reporters Without Borders discussing censorship in Iran since the election.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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.

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

Instead Of Twittering People, How About An Outdoor Rally?

Some local candidates Houston have set up Twitter accounts and are Twittering people. I’m sure this going on in other places around the nation.

(Here is an explanation of Twitter. Maybe it is something you would enjoy.  As for myself, I’ve reached a limit of the forums and platforms I have the time to use to communicate.)

I wonder if candidates can get a full platform into a one sentence update? What’s next? Telepathy? Just how few words can we use, and still refer to what is taking place as campaigning, or reaching out, or providing information?

What are the demographics of Twitter users as compared to Houston as a whole?  Maybe a better match than that of  political bloggers I admit, but it seems just one more way to make the electoral process around here even more remote from the average person. 

Maybe candidates could spend some of the time they are engaged in so-called social networking actually going out and meeting voters and explaining positions to voters. In our district council elections, there are so few regular voters you could actually go door to door with many of them if you got an early enough start before Election Day. Just contact our board of elections and get the list. 

It’s nice and warm most of the time in Houston. Today it was 70 on the first day of February. Maybe a candidate could even have an outdoor rally or event. You could set it up at a park and offer hot dogs and whatever. You could just talk to people.

Or–get this–people in Houston, and elsewhere in the nation, could actually take part in local politics and demand more from people seeking office and those already elected to office. Average folks could make it so that a Twitter message would rarely suffice when politicians are trying to reach voters.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment