Category: Social Media


Like many of my colleagues, I was driven to Twitter by two complementary forces: my vanity and my boss. I’ve regarded it as a clubhouse, a research tool and a venue for unloading surplus opinion. It has never really seemed like a private place, and I try to behave there more or less the way I do in the newspaper, refraining from swearing or expressing political opinions and keeping my crazier thoughts to myself. Which I suppose makes the thoughts I do express there fair game for the same kind of treatment as all my other published thoughts. They can be appropriated, parodied, parroted, misquoted and ignored. The last option is a writer’s greatest nightmare of course, but it can also be a source of comfort.

A.O. Scott, “‘The Collision of Movie-Awards Campaigning and Paracritical Chirping'”, The New York Times Magazine (19 January 2014), 47.

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Jumping into the boundless streams of Twitter is not very different from compulsively buying books in the false hope that, one day, you might read them. Of course, you won’t, but this doesn’t matter: it’s the very brief encounter with that possibility that counts. The fire hose of social media tricks us into thinking that, for a fleeting moment, we can play God and conquer every link that is dumped upon us; it gives us that mad utopian hope that, with proper training, we can emerge victorious in the war on information overload.

Evgeny Morozov, “Only Disconnect”, The New Yorker (28 October 2013), 37.