apr 17

Let Them Eat Tweets

Heffernan's column is complex this week: Let Them Eat Tweets. It riffs on an idea from Bruce Sterling's closing address at SXSW: networked people are actually poor people. Counter-intuitive! Or as Sterling put it, "Poor folk love their cellphones!" This becomes a set up for a discussion of Twitter, beginning with a confession: "I'm not sure I'd use Twitter if I were rich." This networked class divide is not a bad idea to ruminate on for a second, but it also happens to be completely undercut by Oprah today showing up on Twitter and getting 150,000 followers almost instantly. As it turns out, Twitter is probably doing the exact opposite: allowing celebs to take over.

1 comment

What if financial wealth is the wrong criterion though? Celebs got to be celebs through old-media methods - high barrier to entry, one in a million shot, expensive distribution networks etc etc.

This results in them having social capital in this very early, intermediary stage where, in the old/new media balance, the power lies firmly in the former. I guess I'm saying that 'celebs taking over Twitter' might be the clash between old-media, capital-based social capital (awkward, I know) to a more micro-celeb, new-media social capital that operates in a manner less constrained by wealth. Sure, Oprah will have a fuckload of followers and Kutcher 'won' whatever the fuck he won, but Oprah won't continue to tweet b/c her wealth-based capital won't sustain her when it can't translate to the 'very social' social capital of a network like Twitter.

I also don't quite get the celebrities take over Twitter argument - it's not a push service and the closest one is forced to dealing with it in the aggregate comes in the form of the retweet. I might just be committed to it though.

posted by Nav at 5:01 PM on April 17, 2009

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