“On the News”
Just a few minutes ago, from what I’ve learned so far, a senator from Texas completed a filibuster to prevent an anti-abortion bill from passing. As I write this, it still seems up in the air whether or not it passed.
I purposefully did not look up any more information than what I’d gathered through naturally following the story as I always do. This post isn’t about what happened. It’s about what I learned and how I learned it.
About a half hour ago, I just so happened to pop open my twitter feed. The entire thing was filled with hashtags like #standwithwendy and #sb5. I had zero idea what they were talking about. I follow >1000 twitter accounts, so the rate at which I see tweets about something actually gives me some quick insight into whether or not it is worth my attention.
These tweets were coming in a flood.
I instantly was able to recognize the cultural relevance of what was happening (at least to the curated subset of society that is my personal twitter feed). I clicked into the hashtags. I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing. I googled Wendy Davis and came upon her fairly unhelpful home page. Still didn’t know what was going on. Someone in my feed retweeted a Vine from ground zero. Wow. I hadn’t seen a crowd like that since Scott Walker in Wisconsin. The tweet frequency didn’t lie, this was a big deal. I drilled down into another hashtag and finally found the senate floor YouTube livestream. It was chaos on the floor. The viewer count on the feed was >180,000. This, to me, seemed to be a crazy amount of viewers for a video feed akin to c-span with a shouting crowd. Everyone was following this. This was huge.
It was at this point that the following tweet popped up retweeted in my feed:
“On the News?”
I had just gone through the process of almost instantly being immersed in the news. I tweeted back saying so. That didn’t feel like enough so I came here to start writing my first blog post.
In minutes I had gone from knowing nothing about this woman, her cause, or the political goings-on in Texas and been taken straight to live feeds of the event.
This sentiment was echoed again and again on my feed over the next few minutes. One tweet in particular, which pointed out that CNN was actively airing fluff content, was spreading like crazy.
I’m not surprised that CNN was airing fluff content during a politically momentous event. I expect that. I’m also not surprised that ripping on CNN for airing fluff at this time became a fun bandwagon for the internet to jump on. Instead, what I find surprising (or wish I found more surprising) is that there is this greater sense that these events are not being covered.
The coverage is instantaneous and pervasive and the parts of it that really matter don’t report to shareholders.
The live feed from the hall cut. I was out of the loop. Then Felicia Day tweeted a link to a livestream straight from the cell phone of someone there. Sitting here watching the cell phone livestream as I type I don’t see a single TV camera. What I do see are many, many cell phones. I’ll take that over a TV camera any day.
I feel like I have personal things to say surrounding this post. I foresee that this might often be the case, so I’m going to keep blog-about-the-blog type things in their own section which will be saved for after what actually matters (the blog post itself). If you care about what I write, read the blog. If you also care about who wrote it, read the metaness.
Today I got an invite to try out this nifty Medium thing.
For months I’ve kept a list in Wunderlist of all the [hopefully at least somewhat] wunderful things that I wish to blog about. I have quite a bit to say about quite a few things, but I just haven’t felt like I was in a place to make the dedication to saying them that having an actual blog would imply. I guess I’m taking this as some mystical sign that it is time for me to take the leap and become some kind of capitol-B “Blogger.”
It has actually been quite fun over the years to try and use twitter to say the things that could be better suited for a longer-form publishing medium like a blog. My standard tweet-writing process is to first write out my full thought, which is invariably well over the character limit. Then I go through the actually very interesting process of whittling it down to those magic 140 characters. I’d say a huge chunk of my tweets have been exactly at that limit. It’s a testament to the value of economizing language that I never recall a time when I couldn’t somehow fashion what I wanted to say into something tweet-able. What has resulted is a twitter feed that, though not catchy or punchy or follower-generating in any way, is something I feel somehow… proud of?
My circle of friends in my hometown of Minneapolis (I moved from there to San Francisco just a few months ago) were about as far from the “twitterati” as any social group could be. In fact they probably would give me shit for using the term “twitterati.” As a result, I almost felt it was my duty to champion twitter and services like it as [sometimes] sites of real discourse. “The service is just a delivery mechanism for words, and words have power,” I would say. There is absolutely no question in my mind that social networks are, in fact, things of real value. The content of the blog post above outlines just some reasons why I feel that way.
I also am so sure of its value because I’ve always had that value challenged by those around me. I think there is nothing that grounds someone interested in technology in 2013 more than having people around you that question it endlessly. It’s not so common, but it is an absolutely vital viewpoint when so much of society is being shaped by technology so quickly. I wish more people with my interests and inclinations would’ve been lucky enough to have had the same exposure.
Also, damn does the lack of a character restraint lead me to ramble. I have to work on that. Blogger level: MMORPG killing rats and spiders outside of the starting town.
Also, MEDIUM LET ME MAKE THE AMOUNT OF SPACES AFTER PERIODS I WANT. ALSO DON’T TYPE OVER MY SPACES PLS. ALSO THINGS DO NOT STOP BEING SPELLED WRONG WHEN YOU START THE NEXT WORD. Other than that <3 u so far.