And Now I Understand the Value of Twitter

No link, no explanation, no discussion, no comments, no backstory. Just the cold, hard facts.

I’ve so far avoided twittering, but I now see the value in it.






70 replies
  1. 1
    Elroy's Lunch says:

    I’m from the generation that was brought up to write letters. With postage stamps. But yeah, it works. In this case quite well.

  2. 2
    JoyousMN says:

    I’ve been describing Milbank’s work as “pap” for years now. But I think that “dick” describes his attitude perfectly.

    He’s unreadable, even when he’s going after the pols I don’t like. It’s just such crap writing, superior and what I’m sure he thinks is “snarky.” But it’s just garbage and I’m glad someone has called him out on it.

  3. 3
    JK says:

    Dana Milbank on Comedy and News Reporting
    http://www.youtube.com/reporte.....vEYffAVNng

  4. 4
    Comrade Stuck says:

    I’ve so far avoided twittering, but I now see the value in it.

    I’m afraid of Twitter. The Twitter is everywhere and cannot be stopped. It’s on the buses and the trains, in the supermarket line, and is close when you take a shit. When you say yer prayers at night, Twitter is there. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until it’s message is delivered. Just ask Sullivan.

  5. 5
    Laura W says:

    Who cares what I think anyway.

  6. 6
    Morbo says:

    Funny, you came to the realization approximately the same way Greenwald did. http://twitter.com/glenngreenw.....1543003119

  7. 7
    DanSmoot'sGhost says:

    I am giving my entire life over to Jesus Twitter.

    I want to be the best Twit that I can be.

    ( dabs eyes )

  8. 8
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Laura W:

    Are you alright?

  9. 9
    Laura W says:

    @Comrade Stuck: You betcha!
    (Just don’t have the energy for contentious expressions of my personal opinion at this moment in time. People are gonna do what they are gonna do, right? Just because I think Twitter is a big old sloppy pile of lazy narcissistic doo doo that caters to the absolute most stoopid and lazy parts of tittering human beings does not mean it won’t appeal to some people.)

  10. 10
    Rosali says:

    Serious question: If I twitter something, but no one is following, will it be heard? If no one is following, would my twitter be worth the time I spent typing it?

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    I cant wait for the porno version, Twatter.

  12. 12
    John Cole says:

    I’m thinking there is a role for someone to play as a twitterer to just, every couple of hours, announce that someone is “such a dick.”

    Maybe I will start twittering after all.

  13. 13
    Beej says:

    Olbermann just had a segment on Milbank, who apparently thinks that Obama’s calling on the Huffington Post reporter during his presser was the equivalent of Bush planting a ringer in a presser to ask softball questions. Olbermann said, “Come on, Dana, you’re smarter than that.” Somehow I doubt that.

  14. 14
    DanSmoot'sGhost says:

    If somebody Twitters for me, are they a Pinch Twitter?

    Is a big person a Heavy Twitter?

    If I need to use the restroom, and send a msg, am I headed for the Shtwitter?

    Is an infant with a keyboard a Baby Stwitter?

    If I msg while circling the bases, am I a Home Run Twihitter?

  15. 15
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    Just the cold, hard facts.

    Er, shouldn’t be singular? It’s hard to fit more than one fact in a twitter.

    .

  16. 16
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole:

    I’m thinking there is a role for someone to play as a twitterer to just, every couple of hours, announce that someone is “such a dick.”

    Twittering, apparently, equals blogging reduced to its essence.

    .

  17. 17
    DanSmoot'sGhost says:

    If my cat sends a msg from the catbox, is he using the Kitty Litter Twitter?

    If the cat combines messages, is that Clumping Kitty Twitter Litter?

  18. 18
    garyb50 says:

    Even my family doesn’t follow my twits.

  19. 19
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @DanSmoot’sGhost: Snort. Keep going. Very funny.

    @Rosali: I found it to be a waste of time, but that’s partly because I’m verbose. 140 characters? I don’t think so.

  20. 20
    Mr. Tactful says:

    Ah, Mr. Cole may come around yet.

    Follow Mr_Tactful77

    Yay!

  21. 21
    ninerdave says:

    @John Cole:

    I’m thinking there is a role for someone to play as a twitterer to just, every couple of hours, announce that someone is “such a dick.”

    You need to John.

    Jack Dorsey’s lament:

    SAN FRANCISCO—Creator Jack Dorsey was shocked and saddened this week after learning that his social networking device, Twitter, was being used to disseminate pertinent and timely information during the recent civil unrest in Iran. “Twitter was intended to be a way for vacant, self-absorbed egotists to share their most banal and idiotic thoughts with anyone pathetic enough to read them,” said a visibly confused Dorsey, claiming that Twitter is at its most powerful when it makes an already attention-starved populace even more needy for constant affirmation. “When I heard how Iranians were using my beloved creation for their own means—such as organizing a political movement and informing the outside world of the actions of a repressive regime—I couldn’t believe they’d ruined something so beautiful, simple, and absolutely pointless.” Dorsey said he is already working on a new website that will be so mind-numbingly useless that Iranians will not even be able to figure out how to operate it.

    Twitter needs to be taken away from the islamofacisits and brought back to it’s previously useless, self-aggrandizing state.

    You, and you alone, can do this.

  22. 22
    ninerdave says:

    @Rosali:

    Serious question: If I twitter something, but no one is following, will it be heard? If no one is following, would my twitter be worth the time I spent typing it?

    You’re asking the wrong question. You’re close but not quite there. The correct question is:

    “Would my twitter be worth the time I spent typing it?”

    The answer is no (unless you live in Iran).

  23. 23
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Laura W:

    People are gonna do what they are gonna do, right? Just because I think Twitter is a big old sloppy pile of lazy narcissistic doo doo that caters to the absolute most stoopid and lazy parts of tittering human beings does not mean it won’t appeal to some people.

    I am officially going to use that as my answer any time someone asks me if I Twitter.

  24. 24
    Fulcanelli says:

    @Laura W: Amen, Sister. I couldn’t agree more.

  25. 25
    Montysano says:

    A young friend is going on a backpacking trip; he plans on tweeting the whole farking thing, which makes me sad. I’ve always thought backpacking trips should involve psychedelics and nudity, but that’s just me.

  26. 26
    gnomedad says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    I am officially going to use that as my answer any time someone asks me if I Twitter.

    You can’t. It’s 261 characters.

  27. 27
    slag says:

    Honestly, the only reason I started on Twitter is because neocons were using it to spread misinformation. It reminded me of how they started using talk radio. I don’t want the 90s back, so I think Twitter needs a liberal presence in the same way that radio did. Otherwise, it’s just fun to beat up on them when you have some spare time…it’s more direct than a blog.

  28. 28
    Douche Baggins says:

    @Punchy FTW! (maybe it’s old news, but it’s pretty fuckin funny)

  29. 29
    anonevent says:

    @Douche Baggins: His was funny, but @gnomedad made me laugh harder.

  30. 30
    tc125231 says:

    You are not having a good day Mr. Cole. I don’t see the difference between this twitter and Milbank’s work –except that there are fewer words.

    Thus, you affirm the spiritual inheritor of Milbank for dissing….Milbank.

    Curious.

    “There once was a man named Oedipus Rex. You may have heard about his odd complex. His name appears in Frued’s index because he loved his mother.”

  31. 31
    LD50 says:

    You are not having a good day Mr. Cole. I don’t see the difference between this twitter and Milbank’s work—except that there are fewer words.
    Thus, you affirm the spiritual inheritor of Milbank for dissing….Milbank.

    That’s how much Twitter sucks. It cheapens you even when you talk about how much you hate it.

  32. 32
    Brian J says:

    One has to wonder if the editors and any other higher ups at older media organizations feel the same way that Milbank feels. After all, despite how much they can be bashed, most people would give up quite a lot to work for a newspaper like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or The New York Times. My guess is, Nico Pitney would probably love to cover foreign affairs for The Post, and the paper would love to have someone who could bring eyeballs to its site. Obviously, there’s only so many spots that one organization can fill, and not everyone is suited for the job, but there’s a lot of talent out there, and given the chance, I suspect a lot of people would find any change in address or affiliation would work in both directions.

  33. 33
    JGabriel says:

    Brian J:

    My guess is [… WaPo] would love to have someone who could bring eyeballs to its site.

    Given their recent firing of Froomkin, it would seem the Post actually doesn’t care about having readers.

    .

  34. 34
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Montysano:

    Went hiking today. Had a beer.

    Saw a robin. It was cool.

    Met some locals. They were cool.

    I’m at the hotel. I’m ready to crash.

    Night!

    Yes. I can see how this is going to be so interesting for you to read.

  35. 35
    demimondian says:

    And there’s the new version for fans of Obama, bitter — for those folks who think sending 140 bytes using a two-bit website is just too much, bitter reduces it all to an upperdown vote. Now, you too can follow Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and other famous bitterers.

  36. 36
    mcd410x says:

    Twitter works wonderfully as a news aggregator: espn, cnnbrk, guardianfooty, various local news sites, et al.

  37. 37

    I can’t read fast enough for any moderately populated Twitter feed. I tried to follow a couple of the Iranian feeds, and I couldn’t keep up.

    I’m getting old.

  38. 38

    Twitter is different from this right here, this web page. People have to come here. If someone’s following you on Twitter, he’s always there. And then there’s retweets. Possibility for wide near-instantaneous dissemination. Since we refuse to be telepathic, this half-assed crutch to wholeness feels pretty good. I like it, although it gets kinda weird sometimes, what with everybody saying “goodnight” like at the end of a Waltons episode. Now that I wrote that, I think it’s a good thing, especially for those of us who were raised by all-American farm animals. What the hell.

    If you follow the right people — I keep up with just a few — they can be an indispensable source of information. URLs, etc. My info pipe just got lots larger by choosing what to put in it. For my part (@TaosJohn), having little of measurable value to impart, I am focusing on art in 140 characters. I just made that up.

    But John, if you do this, you’ll have thousands of followers right from the git-go. What an advantage, you must pick it up. Your traffic will increase. You can move to Tahiti. God loves you.

  39. 39
    Cain says:

    If you’re going to twitter, please use identi.ca instead. :-) Open source version of twitter that is more reliable.

    http://www.identi.ca/

    cain

  40. 40
    BDeevDad says:

    Twitter works well if you have an area of focus that you are interested in. I am in interested in medical research (especially stem cells) and special needs kids/education. Through twitter, I’ve found more experts and information then I would have with just google searches. However, there is still fluff to wade through, I just don’t mind because if I miss something I don’t feel it’s a big deal since it is more interests as opposed to work or immediate need for specific information.

  41. 41
    ninerdave says:

    @JGabriel:

    Given their recent firing of Froomkin, it would seem the Post actually doesn’t care about having readers.

    To be fair, Froomkin and Pitney are aggregators. They’re not doing any reporting other than filtering and passing along information. That’s different than actively seeking information and reporting it.

    Not to say they aren’t (or in Froomkin’s case weren’t) doing an amazing job and a huge public service by doing so.

    However, that’s not reporting.

  42. 42
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Not that new really, Tolstoy wrote novels with 140 characters. And that was in the 1800s.

  43. 43
    joel hanes says:

    that’s not reporting.

    Nothing produced by the White House Press Corpse over the last nine years (with a few exceptions, yay! Helen Thomas) can be accurately characterized as reporting.

    Dana Milbank is not worthy to carry the pencil cup of a real reporter such as Walter Pincus or Seymour Hersh or RW Apple.

  44. 44
    Dave says:

    Dickipedia has a long list of dicks. Dana Milbank is not yet among them. There’s work to be done.

  45. 45
    Allan says:

    The best reason to be on Twitter is to watch the conservatards who love Twitter tweet confirmation of their barking lunacy on a semi-constant basis.

    The reason conservatards love Twitter is because they distrust any concept that cannot be expressed in 140 characters or fewer.

    Oh, and the Villagers. You must follow the fratboys of the WH press corps, the Chips and the Jakes and the Chucks and the Majors so that you can appreciate how they would remain oblivious to the fact that they were walking around with a meat cleaver stuck in their skulls if the WH didn’t issue a press release pointing it out to them.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    There’s work to be done.

    And ol’ Dana is ‘working’ hard at it, as usual, they just need to note his accomplishments in journalistic dickery at Dickipedia. They must be overwhelmed with the number of dicks to list and just haven’t got to it yet.

  48. 48
    Blue Raven says:

    I have friends on Twitter, and we sometimes have the craziest conversations that way when one of us isn’t able to be on IM software. Then there’s the Iranian election/revolution coverage, barring the random American idiot who can’t stop retweeting it. I also get to find out news about favorite authors, receive trivia from Stephen Fry’s Qikipedia feed, and find out about fires in my state as well as the weather.

    Narcissistic? Whatever you choose to believe.

  49. 49
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Incertus: I just made that my first “Tweet”.

    Shrug.

  50. 50
    Martin says:

    Since somehow limiting people to 140 characters has made a service unexpectedly popular, I predict the service to overtake Twitter will limit all messages to be in the form of haiku.

    Should make the GOP extra entertaining.

  51. 51
    JGabriel says:

    And it shall be called: Twaiku.

    .

  52. 52
    JGabriel says:

    Vanity Fair has a new article on Sarah Palin. The question I have is, Why?

    Can’t we just let her fade into history, like the footnotesup>1 she is?

    First Female Candidate for VP in the Republican party, largely remembered for being easier on the eyes than her running mate, and for being kind of wacky. [back]

    .

  53. 53
    RedKitten (formerly Krista - the Canadian one) says:

    Twitter seems utterly silly to me — however, I have signed up for one reason and one reason only: I’m terrified of someday becoming one of those older people who has absolutely no clue how to use current technology. It took me 4 days to teach my stepdad how to use a cordless phone, for pete’s sake — I don’t want to be in that position someday.

    So, I figure it’s easier to try the new trends, even if I wind up discarding them, rather than having to catch up later when I’m hopelessly out of date and confused.

  54. 54
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    OF course celebrities and even big time Division I coaches nationwide are setting up Twitter accounts. Which they of course never look at, they have assistants to do that. And I assume their foolish fans think they are actually hearing from their idols.

    Of course a couple days ago some hackers cracked Britney Spears Twitter account and sent out a message she was dead.

    This turned out not to be the case and Twitter is rushing to close the hole in application that opened it on Twitter, so I suppose she will continue producing the magnificent and iconic music for which she was once famous. I say suppose, since I assure I will not be listening or purchasing it if she does. Just wanted to make that crystal clear.

    Or should I have Twittered that to you?

  55. 55

    Just think of all the new tweeps you can add to your ever expanding twitterverse. Oh the things you will tweet!

  56. 56
    cleek says:

    to embrace Twitter is to commit treason against email and blog posting.

  57. 57
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @cleek:

    to embrace Twitter is to commit treason against email and blog posting.

    Tweason.

  58. 58
    Royston Vasey says:

    1 August 2008, Huffpo:

    Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank will no longer appear on MSNBC’s Countdown. Keith Olbermann posted the announcement on Daily Kos:

    Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who notified us today that after four years appearing with us, he had accepted another television offer.
    This saved your crack Countdown staff an increasingly difficult decision.

    For nearly a week we’d been waiting for him to offer a correction or an explanation for his column from last week in which he apparently reported an Obama quote without a full context turned the meaning of the quote inside-out.

    Then he called criticisms of his column “whines” even though the dispute was over whether Obama said the self-deprecating: “It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign — that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions” — or only the part about “I have just become a symbol…”

    We had decided not to have Dana on this news-hour again until this was cleared up, and, sadly after some very happy years, he’s apparently chosen to make that cloud permanent.

  59. 59
    MikeJ says:

    to embrace Twitter is to commit treason against email and blog posting.

    usenet forever!

  60. 60
    Aaron says:

    John Conyers had quite a takedown of Milbank, and his absolutely shitty reporting, in a latter to the WaPo in 2005. It is quite worth the read, and I don’t know how Milbank can show his face in public afterwards . . .

  61. 61
    Ash Can says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Tweason.

    FTW

  62. 62
    JenJen says:

    During the USA-Brazil final on Sunday, I think it was Kos diarist David Waldman (KagroX) who started this new Milbank internet tradition on Twitter.

    For example, when the USA scored, instead of twittering “GOOOOOOOAL”, he tweeted “Dana Milbank is such a DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!”

    It was kind of funny, but maybe you had to be there.

  63. 63
    chopper says:

    @Punchy:

    I cant wait for the porno version, Twatter.

    OMG im totes nekid and teh pizza guy jst shwd up! whrs my $? how will i tip him?*

    *an actual message from newt gingrich’s twatter feed.

  64. 64
    harlana pepper says:

    @RedKitten (formerly Krista – the Canadian one): OMG, I never *could* get my mom or dad to learn how to even put a cassette in the VCR they bought and play the darned thing. But my dad knows everything, of course. When I was trying to show him, I was putting the cassette in and he says, “are you sure you’re putting it in the right way?” Hopeless, but of course, at their age, it really, truly doesn’t matter.

    At work, I was the one showing other people how to do things on the puter, but I guess I’m stuck in time now b/c I personally hate cell phones and can barely operate mine. Cell phones take all the mystery out of life (& love).

  65. 65
    harlana pepper says:

    OMG im totes nekid and teh pizza guy jst shwd up! whrs my $? how will i tip him?*

    *an actual message from newt gingrich’s twatter feed.

    One of the reasons I keep coming back to bj.

  66. 66
    BDeevDad says:

    I #BlameDrewsCancer for Dana Milbank being a dick.

  67. 67
    Nicole says:

    Twitter earned its right to existence from me solely for (fake) Christopher Walken. I miss those tweets.

  68. 68
    bjacques says:

    Twitter’s great for stuff like tracking flood stage, hurricane updates, and developing stories.

    I wish I knew how to filter out reTweets.

    Republicans love Twitter because it’s one-way by default, like talk radio and blogs that have comments turned off. The Big Guy can tweet all day but not have to listen to feedback unless they’re “following” someone, which is probably never. Twitter is like the name implies, a bunch of people broadcasting at each other. It isn’t really a conversation, but it can come close sometimes.

    Conservatards just love authority, so on Twitter they can follow their favorite idol and keep hitting that refresh button and get a jolt straight to the R-brain pleasure center, cruel mockery or howl of outrage, doesn’t matter which.

  69. 69
    Nellcote says:

    There’s always the Doonesbury bonus: Roland Hedley on Twitter!

    http://twitter.com/Roland_Hedley

  70. 70
    @bleahy4 says:

    Twitter beat out the MSM with the first weekend of Iran coverage.

    Watching Ana Marie Cox and Michele Malkin simultaneously tweet Obama’s presser = endless amusement. Parallel universes.

    The fact that Dana Milbank’s hashtag = #dickwhisperer = priceless.

    RT: @SQ52D #Dickwhisperer explained! http://bit.ly/1z5ENH

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