"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Presidential Twitter press conference

Just watched the first Presidential Twitter press conference - mostly on MSNBC, which stopped its live coverage about 10 minutes before the press conference was over.  I saw the rest on the more reliable Twitter site.

Like all firsts - such as the first YouTube Presidential debate, back in the 2008 campaign - the Twitter event was as much show as substance.   But there were some good questions and answers, and I think the event was therefore worthwhile.

Herewith a few helpful, friendly criticisms:
  • The "curation" or screening of questions gets in the way of the democratizing point of this kind of event.  Obviously, no President or any one person could answer or even read the multitude of Tweets.   My suggestion is randomly select the Tweets that the President will see and respond to.
  • Along these same lines, the inclusion of Tweets from House Speaker Boehner and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof only get in the way of a Twitter press conference being a real expression of the people.  Neither Boehner nor Kristof need Twitter to get their ideas in front of President Obama.  Most other Americans do.
  • Obama needs to work on his pronunciation.  The funniest part of the press conference was when he pronounced a Tweeter named "Schnapps" or "Shnapps" as "Shnepps" (apparently Obama has never had a schnapps?  Oy!)
But, all in all, a good first effort the President and the Twitter sector of new new media.  I hope we'll see more.  And this will be the first lesson in my "Politics and New Media" graduate class which I begin teaching at Fordham University tonight.



mike jahn said...

Paul Levinson, you're an interesting man. I find if hard to imagine why our paths never crossed. (I'm Mike_JahnWORDS on Twitter and Michael Jahn to Amazon, which lists several dozen of my humiliating attempts at writing novels.) Which leads me to ask if you think I should e-publish with Amazon/Kindle. Ain't never done it before.

Paul Levinson said...

I'm sure I must've seen your name in the NY Times, at very least, given my music in the late 1960s/early 1970s ...

But I think the cosmos is teeming with paths that almost, should've crossed, and I'm glad you made the move to cross them now.

The Kindle editions have been mainly of my nonfiction, and have been put up there by my publishers, and have sold well enough. But six months ago, I decided to put up some of my science fiction novels - The Silk Code, etc - which I'm still in the process of converting, mainly because I always get sidetracked in favor of new writing.

But I've heard from at least one science fiction author whose reports I trust that he's made a bundle putting up his out-of-print novels on Kindle, so I'd say go for it (his advice is what got me started on my own still incomplete Kindle editions).

Let's keep in touch - I'll Friend you on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul Levinson! Dominic M. here-- I am an undergraduate student in Fargo, ND using your New New Media as a central text to study Electronic Communication in general... so I thought I'd check out your own personal blog. Very cool stuff!

I'm a 22-year old who actually does not use Twitter (although this class will eventually force me to), so I'll be eager to see how well it enables or discourages meaningful political conversation and awareness. I'm glad to see some political stuff sprinkled among the television reviews!

What I found particularly interesting in your book thus far (only 2 chapters read) was your notion that "a wireless device...makes all of those formerly useless places useful" (189). I feel like mobile devices offer this potential, but perhaps this statement was a bit too optimistic. Not sure how best to measure "useful" phone usage, but I am somewhat of a cynic when it comes to smartphone usage... I see a lot of games and distractions. We'll see where this semester takes me--just thought I'd say "Hi!"

Paul Levinson said...

Hey Northerndom - thanks for dropping by.

The key point about the "exile of useless places" is choice - options - in the hands of the smartphone user.

Formerly, in a diner, a train, an elevator, up on a mountain, out in the woods, you were cut off from your world of information. There may or may not have been other benefits in such places. But now, with smartphones, you don't have to worry about being in a useless place (assuming your service works). Whether or not you do useful things with your smartphone connection is another issue. But at least now, you have the option.

Best of luck in your studies!