Do the new communication mediums decrease the complexity of ideas?

Please discuss below.

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14 Responses to Do the new communication mediums decrease the complexity of ideas?

  1. Is Twitter dumbing down communication? Jake hinted at this in a Facebook conversation this morning, stating that owing to its 140 character limit Twitter would only allow old, accepted ideas and conversations to flourish. New ideas presumably require much more than 140 characters for discussion.

    This is a good point, but I think it misses the mark. The point of Twitter isn’t to communicate new ideas-at least I don’t think so. It is merely another tool for communication. There is a reason it’s called “micro blogging”- it is for short bursts of language. Anything larger than the limit can be brought into a bigger realm, such as blogs or facebook or email.. this post proves this, I believe.

  2. Jake says:

    This might in fact be the answer to the question: interlocking platforms. A program like Twitter serves to alert potential associates, and longer format sites like blogs and forums allow for fuller discussion.
    However, there will surely be some difference in type of people who use each level, with the vast majority sticking to Twitter, and therefore getting only the simplest and most salient versions (which tend to be populist, religious, or racist as we learned in Beth’s class).

  3. I would presume that owing to Twitter’s “freshness,” those currently using it have already bought into other social media platforms. I highly doubt that Twitterers have completely missed Facebook, Wikipedia, etc, and thus most will probably be tuned into the potential for interlockiness.

  4. Jake says:

    Ah, I didn’t see Mike’s post before I wrote mine.

    I guess my point is that different kinds of people will use the network differently. The non-elites probably won’t be nearly as likely to use multiple platforms.

    And if we’re interested in Action, the rapid-fire nature of modern networks means we’re more likely to see discernible effects from the easily understandable, highly salient messages, which tend to be destructive. (Defa 2009)

  5. Ari Kohen says:

    Absolutely. Different people use Twitter differently…but that’s precisely its beauty: it is whatever you want it to be. If you want a lot of people to read and think about what you’re writing, you can find ways to do that. If you want to use it as asynchronous chat with your friends, you can do that too.

    The thing I like about the Tweet Academy idea (which probably won’t really take off until Fall, when people start back to school again), is that it’s designed both to have short-burst chat-like conversations but also points people to a blog where longer, in-depth discussions can get underway.

  6. Jake Wobig says:

    Going back to Ari’s original point, there’s also an issue of public and private persona. For example, I sign all “official” correspondence “Jacob Wobig” even though the only person who calls me Jacob is my mom.

  7. I think that those who feel the need to embrace only a private online persona will not reap the benefits as much as those who go public.. there are varying degrees of course. My Facebook is only viewable to approved friends, for example.

  8. Jake Wobig says:

    Mine too.

    I wonder about these benefits. You surely have a good point that maintaining privacy causes you to lose a lot of connections you would otherwise get. This could defeat the whole purpose of the networking program.

    However, I wonder whether people perceive the communications of a fully public person the way they do with someone who maintains some privacy standards. Like, do people view them the way they do, for example, expressions of friendship from politicians, like you can’t really trust that they mean whatevery they are saying. A little exclusivity creates (at least the perception) of authenticity.

  9. Ari Kohen says:

    I’m with Mike here (surprise, surprise). My Facebook profile isn’t generally viewable, but there’s enough there for people to find me if they’re looking for me. With regard to most everything else, I use my name and my photo. If I don’t want people to read something that I think, I don’t put it online. I’m the content manager, not the website. That way, if there’s information or an experience to be gained from being online, I don’t miss it.

    Having said all of that, I might be totally missing something here about a public/private split. I haven’t read Arendt carefully in too long, after all.

  10. Jake Wobig says:

    I have to go back to the interpretation issue.

    Consider the Jeremiah Wright case. In a particular context, for a particular audience, he may have a point (even if it could be more artfully phrased). But when the expressed view gets outside of the intended audience (and you lose shared understandings, intersubjectivity, yada yada yada) its easy to get misinterpreted and get in trouble.

    Basically, I don’t trust the broader public to give me the benefit of the doubt when they see something that they think might be offensive or inappropriate. And regardless of how careful I am, I am certain there is something I might say sometime that someone will construe as offensive or inappropriate. This leaves two remedies: quit using them completely, or restrict access to those I trust.

    I’m probably just more risk averse.

  11. Jeremiah Wright is a sensationalist, and though his comments were undoubtedly misconstrued in the media to a degree, he knew what he was saying and said it for a reason. I don’t think the comparison is apt.. unless you’re going to do likewise via Twitter.

  12. Also, considering that this page has been viewed ~30 times in the past hour, I’d like to know what the other viewers think. Heh?

  13. Jake Wobig says:

    Ok, well how about Obama’s “Lipstick on a pig” comment? Anybody who knows anything about politics knows that this is a common expression for presidential candidates, but it was grossly misconstrued by a bunch of people outside that circle.

  14. Amanda Balzer says:

    Maybe it’s time for someone who rarely thinks before she speaks to weigh in… With Twitter and Facebook, I almost always think about what I’m typing and if later I feel I’ve made a mistake, I erase the post (this happens rarely).

    This is more than I usually do in my verbal, in-person life so I’ve always thought of that as a mild gatekeeper.

    What also helps me is my mom is on Facebook. Seriously, if my mom can’t see what I’m posting, that’s the ultimate editor. I also have some very good friends who are ideologically opposed to me so when I do post something political, I try to word somewhat carefully or avoid commenting altogether. For example, I have REALLY wanted to make a snarky post about people becoming fans of “God” on Facebook. But I have refrained because sadly two of my friends are official fans of said deity.

    In this way, I feel like online networking has forced me to think MORE about the things I express rather than less. And I like the 140 characters – for those of you who have read my writing, brevity is queen. So making people condense their thoughts and choose only necessary words is something I can get behind. Maybe it goes back to my headline writing days.

    The bottom line for me, ultimately, is I am used to people misconstruing most things I say – so what’s one more medium? If they really care, they’ll ask for further clarification or begin a discussion.

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