“Whoa, dawg! TMI!”

Posted on February 28, 2009 by


By Phil Meagher

Online social-networks, blogs, and now Twitter. Whatever it was that once defined “Too much information” has skipped town.

Nude in Chair by Dustin Watson.  Whoa, dawg!  TMI!
“Nude in Chair” by Dustin Watson.

Twitter — a fast-growing social networking site whose primary function is similar to that of the “Update Your Status” tool on facebook — has become an online phenomenon; users once logging in to read updates (or “tweets”) by friends and family, have now turned to see what newscasters have to say, or, err, twittle about.

Many major news-network anchors, contributers, etc. have established profound followings on twitter. Users, seeking the most timely news possible (whether it is or not is up for debate) are checking regularly for content that often boils down to nothing.

Blogging, it might be argued, has had a detrimental effect on the understanding of what makes news news as well as the practice of third-person reporting.

If that’s the case, we should be weary about where Twitter will take journalism.

Below, a clipping from a full story on this by The New York Times.


Like bankers who never feel they’ve earned enough, television anchors and correspondents apparently never feel that they have communicated enough.

“Heading upstairs to the studio,” Norah O’Donnell of NBC tweeted to her followers (who at that moment, 3:04 p.m. on Wednesday, numbered 1,509).

Some argue that Twitter has value as a news source, and note that the first snapshots of the Turkish Airlines jet after it crashed near Amsterdam on Wednesday were transmitted via Twitter. But those crash photos could have gotten out just as quickly if sent by cellphone to another Web site. It’s tempting to dismiss Twitter fever as a passing fad, the Pokémon of the blogosphere. But it’s beginning to look more like yet another gateway drug to full-blown media narcissism.