Twitter Hopes to be Better than “Ready, Shoot, Aim” but Seems Mired in Catty Quips


Congressmen and Obama watchers last night hoped to be the Greek runner Pheidippides, who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been miraculously defeated in the Battle of Marathon. But they failed. They didn’t do justice to that runner who died for his 26-mile messenger effort.  Instead, like Rep. Randy Weber, Republican of Texas, they used the 140-character 21st century messenger to announce shortly before the President’s arrival that he was “On the floor of house waitin on ‘Kommander-In-Chief’…the Socialistic dictator who’s been feeding US a line or is it “A-Lying?”

Poor spelling and bad humor will get you no where.  Just ask former General Stanley McChrystal. In the presence of a Rolling Stone reporter doing a story on the general and the war in Afghanistan, he was joking with his aides about what he should say when asked by Joe Biden about how the war was going.  Reporter Michael Hastings captured this dialogue:

“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh. “Who’s that?”

“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite Me?”

That and other remarks about the President, the Vice President, and a French diplomat got the four-star general relieved of his command lest than a week after the article was published.

Rep. Weber’s fate will unlikely be the same and perhaps even burnished in his Republican Texas district, but Twitter’s fate is far less certain.  Will the social platform that spawned the Arab Spring turn out to be just an electronic version of the bathroom stall where gossip and telephone numbers make a bio break more fun and titillating?  That would be a huge waste of technology and human potential for good.  Yet, Twitter seems to be struggling with its new-found success seen to be supplanting Facebook as the communication tool of choice in shaping the debate and opinion in this century.

Memo to Jack Dorsey: At next meeting with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, ask what Twitter’s future should be and how will it get there?

Here is NY Times reporter Ashley Parker’s full story on Twitter and the “State of the Union” address:

And Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hasting’s piece on Gen. McChrystal:

Read more:


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