Chapter seven in Neil Postman’s book, “Now…This,” made me think of the short, fragmented type of discourse encouraged by the Internet. There’ve been a lot of times that I’ve participated in comments sections of news articles, and each time I’m struck by the ease that I pick-up and let go of the issue. Even when the article is about something that matters to me, once I’m done in the comments section, I typically stop thinking about it.
Similar to the news’ ability to move from issue to issue, I find that I’m increasingly jumping from comments section to comments section without a second thought. It didn’t bother me before, but now it does, because I fear that I’m becoming a part of Postman’s worry of a telegraphic society that uses little to no depth of thought.
Another instance of this, and possibly a more striking one, is the use of Twitter and live tweeting during the presidential debates. During each of the debates I kept an eye on the various hashtags used by news outlets, and sent my own tweets their way. I found that it was a lot like a comments section that updated extremely quickly. The tweets people sent in ranged from ad homonyms to serious questions, but either way, they were restricted to 140 characters, further emphasizing the inability to dive deep into the issues.
Here’s my question to others, have you ever live tweeted anything? If so, did you feel a similar lack of depth? If not, for what reason(s), and/or do you feel that live tweeting could add anything to a discussion?