January 5, 2011

Editor’s Letter: Twitter Sucks?

This is my weekly editor’s letter, an introduction to our Top 10 blogs of the week email newsletter—a great way to follow elephant without getting overwhelmed (as opposed to, say, twitter or Facebook, where we’re verrrrry active). ~ ed.

Twitter’s awesome.

Twitter: the world-changing nonsense enabling revolutionarily discursive medium everyone who knows nothing about anything loves to hate.

I’ve noticed that many “mindful lifers”—elephant readers who, like myself, hope to live good, enjoyable lives that also happen to be good for others and our planet—tend to condescend toward twitter.

“It’s just a lot of blather,” we say. “What I need in my life is more simplicity, to slow down—not another way to inundate my mind with discursive messages that no one will care about tomorrow.”

And that’s exactly how I felt, two years ago. Last year, @elephantjournal was named #1 in the US in “green” coverage on twitter. What changed?

After a few months of reluctantly telling (“tweeting”) folks that I was at a café or walking my dog (“who cares,” I’d protest, before sending out the occasional half-hearted tweet) it clicked: twitter is just another communications tool. And, like haiku, its brevity (those famous 140 characters) give it its power. Just ask Hemingway: when you have to write succinctly, you write more clearly.

Today alone, I’ve heard about four or five meaningful news stories from an international, interconnected community that I would have otherwise missed. And even if I weren’t in media, I might employ twitter to spread the good news, or rally against bad news, to support my local business community or follow only those news sources I’m most interested in. So this is a call out to all of you who have, at best, only dipped your toes into twitter. Try it out. As one “geek” pointed out, twitter makes the worst first impression of any civilization-changing technology. So give it another chance. Download tweetdeck (as I like to say, if you’re using twitter.com to tweet, you’re not using twitter) or another interface, follow some friends and make some columns—read the following for more of my tips and my Top 10 Green Twitter Follow Recommendations, my Top 10 Boulder Follows, my Top 10 Yoga Follows.
Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

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