Bill Keller Defends Twitter

Bill Keller is telling us all one last time: He doesn’t hate Twitter. In fact, he thinks it’s very useful, not only for The New York Times, but for himself. In an interview with Reuters, Keller expands on the battle he’s involuntarily engaged in about Twitter, and we have to say, he nails it.

He explains that he thinks of Twitter (and Facebook) as tools that every journalist should use, but only some use the right way. If you doubt that statement, you’re not following enough journalists on Twitter.

Keller adds that the nature of Twitter – short bursts of communication that often miss, or delete, the point behind a discussion – can often leave something to be desired. “None of this should be a revelation to anyone who has paid attention, but Twitter is not always a friend of paying attention,” he says.

Keller then goes on dismantle the whole “Bill Keller thinks Twitter makes you stupid” debate:

In case you’re wondering, by the way, I do not believe that Twitter literally makes people stupid. If you read the column, you know that I posted a hashtag — #twittermakesyoustupid — followed, please note, by the word ‘discuss.’ The point was to throw out a subject for discussion, and see how the medium dealt with it, which was pretty much the way I expected. (A hashtag is a topic, not an argument. ) I think Twitter can encourage distraction, superficiality, short attention spans, bumper-sticker-level discourse. It can make you SOUND stupid. But, no, I don’t think it makes you stupid.

It’s kind of hard to argue with that, but we’re sure someone will.