How can you make an informed opinion if you don't have the facts? Or have experienced it?
Rather, there are some who will make snap judgments about something because ... well, umm ... just because they don't get it.
Dan Shaughnessy is one such person.
A sports columnist for the Boston Globe, Shaughnessy went off topic in his column on Wednesday (July 20) to share his disdain for Twitter. After mentioning Fenway's upcoming 100th anniversary, Terry Francona's son serving in Afghanistan, talking about the Patriots' Logan Mankins and some more Red Sox talk, he added this little nugget:
Pardon me if I sound like Larry King, but what’s up with this Twitter madness? It strikes me as trendy, immature, and entirely unnecessary. What you had for lunch is of no interest to me. Increasingly, tweeting seems to be getting athletes in trouble.That was just the beginning.
Other than his Q and A with agent Scott Boras on Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Shaughnessy wrote more about his wish for Twitter to just go away, spending four paragraphs in this bullet-point filled column.
Mr. Shaughnessy, Twitter is a conversation. It's for sharing with others. Whether it's trendy, immature and entirely unnecessary really depends on who you are following. And it's not tweeting that gets athletes in trouble, it's the athletes' words that do. Twitter just gets their 'message' out faster, and in most cases, to a larger audience. As I mentioned in a post before, a lot of the trouble these athletes find themselves in would not happen if they'd think before they tweet - also known as using common sense.
To me, Shaughnessy sounds like my 7-year-old daughter. Haylee is a pretty picky eater and does not like to alter her diet. If it's not chicken, cereal or some other breakfast food, she's not having any of it. From time to time, my bride and I will attempt to get her to try something new. To which, she responds with, "No, I don't like that."
US: "Have you ever tried it?"
Haylee: "No, but I don't like it."
And I say to you, Dan Shaughnessy, what I always say next to my daughter: How do you know you don't like it if you haven't tried it?
Shaughnessy admits he has a Twitter page but also admits he's not the one doing the tweeting. His page is just a regular spewing of the links to his columns. That's it. As of right now, 308 tweets of nothing but links to his story.
Honestly, I find it amazing the page has over 8,000 followers. I mean, what's the point of this Twitter profile? You might as well just follow the RSS feed on Shaughnessy's boston.com page. It's the SAME THING.
(SIDE NOTE: I think it is hilarious Shaughnessy actually thinks someone is tweeting his column links in his stead. Dan, it's 2011. There are programs to do that for you.)
Shaughnessy's lack of embrace of Twitter shows the great divide between the old-school media and new-school media. For the longest time, news was not a conversation. It was a lecture. The media told its audience what was important, and that was pretty much that.
But that all began to change around the turn of the century.
The public took hold of this thing called the worldwide web and the Internet. Slowly but surely, the audience started telling the media what is important. Add into the mix the boom that is social media, the dialogue between the media and audience has kicked into high gear. In fact, the general public are now news reporters thanks to social media.
A great example of this occurred back in May when a person I already followed on Twitter sent out some seemingly innocent twitpics from her flight to Florida. Stefanie Gordon was flying over Florida while the Space Shuttle Endeavor was making its final launch. She snapped a couple pictures, shot a short video with her video and shared them with the world via Twitter.
The photos and videos went viral in no time. Gordon's tweets gained so much notoriety she fielded interview requests from the likes of MSNBC and the Associated Press to name a few.
Yes, Dan, people will continue to tweet what they eat (why? I don't know). And there are lots of trendy, immature and unnecessary things on Twitter. But there's a lot of good and amazing people on Twitter. There's a wealth of knowledge to be gained.
Join the conversation, Dan. You might just learn something.