To Tweet, or not to Tweet

Image: Jim Cole/Associated Press

What would David Souter Tweet if he owned a computer? Image: Jim Cole/Associated Press

I Tweet, but I’m still not sure why.

In a former life I was a communications strategist. I knew which combination of media to use for every occasion. I used various criteria to rank media channels (immediacy, intimacy, currency, reputability, etc.) and knew how each resonated with my various constituents. This was years ago. With today’s countless communications channels and heightened expectations for real-time messaging and the blogosphere’s scrutiny of every word, I can no longer even imagine what it takes to be a communications strategist. And yet, this weekend I was surrounded by the ghosts of my past.

Friday night, a good friend who owns a PR company invited me to a dinner party of notable journalists, editors and other literati, many in the field of communications. It was a fascinating evening and I’ve since found myself considering the communications stategy implications of all media I see or read. Take Howard Markel’s NY Times Op-Chart piece on the history of American Epidemics (“One thing the history of epidemics teaches us is that measures and rapid surveillance and communications ability, there’s never been a better time to have a pandemic than today—except, that is, for tomorrow”) or its the neighboring op-ed column: “Gentleman Cows in Prime Time” by Adam Freedman—a linguistic analysis of the Tuesday’s supreme court upholding of the FCC’s crackdown of smut broadcast over our nation’s airwaves. And then there are those articles that get right to the heart of the matter, like the Time piece a couple of months ago about the adoption Twitter in the most unlikely of places: Capital Hill.

I’m not sure this blog has a point, except that communications strategy is part and parcel of living in the information age. Few can succeed in any chosen field without an online communications plan (unless you’re David Souter who managed nineteen years as a Supreme Court justice without owing a computer). So while I’ve long since eschewed communications strategy as a career, I certainly appreciate the lessons learned along the way.

Now, should I Tweet about this or not?

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