The Re-Branding of America: Twitter’s Got Me Tweakin’!

March 3, 2009

Oh New York Times … Twitter is the new gateway drug (Sorry Marijuana, your shot at love has ended). The ‘War on Drugs’ is so 20th century. Everything went cyber with the new millennium –– now it’s the “War on Social Medi-cin-a” (but you can call it the ‘If print parallels digital media to narcotics while we’re still ‘legitimate’ will you start buying newspapers again?’ War)

It’s not Twitter that’s the problem, nor is it Facebook, or MySpace –– well, I’ll let Chris Hansen field that –– and the problem isn’t Twitterers, or celebrities –– per se. The problem is that the Fourth Estate is back in the hands of the ‘everyman.’

PR Sidenote: I do love, though, how the Times focused the ‘drug problem’ solely on TV anchors –– because it’s not the Twittering Times readers that are addicted –––– it’s only those Tweeting pompous celebrities and pretty people, always about ‘me, me, me’ that need to be muted. It’s not like David Gregory or Demi Moore can be narcissistic without Twitter –– what? It’s not like they’re on tv for a living or anything. Common people have the luxury of millions of non-digital avenues to get their word out, like “Letters to the Editor,” that celebrities/journalists just don’t enjoy. Twitter is yet another way the liberal elite is holding the little guy down … (Lesson: Never fault the constituency, even when you are faulting the constituency.)

The media has more mileage on its laurels than Forrest Gump had on his tennis shoes –– and the biggest threat to the role of traditional media as the apex of ‘legitimate communication’ is the uninhibited digital domain playing soapbox for ‘common nobodies.’

The Times tweets. The Times tweets more than birds do. I get device updates sending NYT headlines to my cell phone … every. ten. minutes. Just now. Just now I get a text “nytimes: Bits: U.N. Says U.S. Internet and Telecoms Lags” So the Times isn’t opposed to Twitter and social media, the Times is opposed to having to share the Marketplace again –– with you; the same you who didn’t get their op-ed published in the New York Times can now Tweet the link to their Open Salon page and have the same –– if not greater –– effect.

Watch this space. Ten years from now we’ll have a VH1 RocDoc tracing the history of America through the impact of modern media –– no, not The Drug Years –– rather The Mediated Millennium .

I can see it now: The New York Times in a fold out chair, situated to the right, reminiscing about the “Good Ol’ Days” when print media “meant something.” When everything was peaches and cream. Then the kids woke up.

“It started with the Tweets. Sally would only go on in the mornings … she said it ‘helped start the day.’ Then it was before bed, before I knew it her teachers were calling saying she was in the bathroom Tweeting about god-knows-what. She thinks it makes her cool, she said everyone’s doing it, she said it makes her feel good –– and that when she Tweets she can say things she can’t say otherwise. Now I wish it was just Twitter. Her crowd has changed –– now she hangs out with those ‘bloggers,’ tapping away on their Blueberries or Blackberries or whatever … In my day we didn’t have this ‘social media.’ We learned early on that you speak when spoken to, and if you wanted to be heard –– raise your hand and ask an authority for permission. Nowadays I just don’t know –– it’s everywhere. Everyone feels liberated, like they can say anything and anyone will listen … And the worst part is that now Sally is an ‘opinion leader.’ Yeah, people look to her for her two cents –– like it’s a dime bag –– and I can’t help but think if it wasn’t for Twitter none of this would’ve happened.”

Twitter would be a “Times-approved” gateway drug if that digital gateway led people to pursue print journalism; however, the digital domain has become a journalistic entity in and of itself. Why go there, why go to the Times, when everything you need is one click away? There’s just no there, there, anymore.

It’s the media’s job to shift and mold public opinion. Now it’s the eleventh hour when the public holds the power of opinion in their own hands, and the last-ditch effort to save a dying medium is to tell the public that their voice is illegitimate. If I was the public I’d be getting a bit nostalgic right about now.

“Y’know the Times is just like my parents, man. Always on my back, ‘do this, do that, say this, don’t say that. Because I said so.’ I’m so stressed, I just need a little something to relax me and get my mind off of things. Hey man –– is that your laptop? Yeah, no, I’ve never Tweeted before –– how’s it feel? Really? Yeah, close the door, I wanna try.”

That’s how peer pressure goes down everyday –– frightening, really. Now that the youth is empowered again, this whole ‘sense of entitlement’ trip has anyone thinking they have something important to say –– like their voice is worth something –– bollocks.

When the youth was sitting at home engaging in other ‘recreational’ activities, everyone told them to get up and make a difference; now that kids are engaged and active again, people are telling them to tone it down –– and cycling them back into that ‘recreational realm.’

It isn’t about the Times –– which I love –– or Twitter, it’s about communication in a changing age. There’s enough room in this pasture for everyone –– print, digital, and broadcast –– the key is integration.

A drug is anything used to alter your current state of being. In a time when everyone wants to get elevated to a better place, Twitter might just be the gateway to that Golden Age.

So, scribe away! If you see something, say something –– because now you can! Take that liberal, elite media with all your tree-hugging, earth-saving, people-loving, rights-protecting, sharing-and-caring and some such … wait a minute … if the fourth estate is back in the hands of the people –– and *gulp* bloggers –– does that mean … I’m the liberal elite?

yes … we … can? oh no –– it’s starting.

There. I said it. Now I’m going to Tweet this link. If it feels good enough I might do it again –– I’ll put Betty Ford on speed dial.

Watch this space

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