In honour of Damian Goddard’s 103-character gay marriage faux pas that likely led to his dismissal, I present a timely piece by Slate’s Jack Shafer, who tries to figure out why Twitter makes ostensibly media-savvy people say remarkably stupid things to the world at large.
In the pre-Twitter days, nobody could attract an audience of a hundred or a thousand instantaneously unless they hosted a radio show or commandeered a stage. Even daily newspaper columnists, who mine controversy for a living, had to triple-jump over an editor, a copy desk, and space constraints to deposit a barbed idea in print. Blogs have always had the potential to “offend,” but I don’t recall them having provoked the sort of responses tweets do. Perhaps composing more than 140 characters at a time pushes the id back a little bit [...]
True enough. I’d also add that for some reason—its reach? The fact that its instantaneous?—Twitter has convinced many people (say, certain sportscasters) of the importance of their own brain farts on, say, same sex marriage. Baffling.