Tag Archives: npr

Twitter And The Power Of Public Conversation

Ah, the things we’re doing at this very moment. Some of us are in the office, others are at home with the kids. Some of us are traveling on a bus or a plane, and others are reading in a cafe. Our actions become symmetric as we balance each another out, flowing seamlessly through our day-to-day actions in a steady stream of life.

As for me? I’m perched at my kitchen table on a late Sunday morning. NPR news is streaming to the stereo. The window is open and tentative sounds of spring drift in. I’m eating half a grapefruit and debating on pouring myself another cup of french press as I occasionally gaze out the window, debating going to yoga at some point later in the day.


“News. Coffee. Sunshine. Writing. Yoga soon. #SPRINGhasSPRUNG”

In certainly well over 140 characters you’ve gotten the gist that, well, I’m not doing much. And whether you take my general communicato with an extra shot of espresso or a whole lotta foam (likely the latter), we can acknowledge that Twitter grants us the ability to comment on our thoughts and actions freely and instinctively, as they occur.

Continue reading

Twitter, Facebook, and Fox News, Oh My. (or, how I was seduced by the internet on election night)

Taking in the presidential election results on Tuesday happened in different places in various ways.  Beginning at 4pm at work we tuned the TV to CNN.  NPR was on the radio. and I had npr.org and the NY Times both open on my computer.

Later on I went home to twitter the unfolding results for KCRW, the Santa Monica-based radio station where I work.  I felt particularly anxious – preferring to avoid the parties and mayhem on the streets of LA to enjoy and reflect upon on the outcome at home. But I didn’t feel alone, and I wasn’t.

I twittered as the results came in and people responded with comments like “Ooh. I like this show. One of my faves. Thanks.” and “Spanky, Spanky, Spanky, Ms Dole. Naughty campaign.”  Twitter allowed for real-time conversation fostered among strangers and among friends.  On Facebook, friends’ status messages lit up with their reactions and observations. My cell phone rang with calls from friends and family from Ohio and Los Angeles. It bleeped with incoming text messages from Paris, Boston, San Fran, and  Columbus, OH. I excitedly chatted with friends on IM.

CNN’s live video feed was broadcasting in one window and Twitter’s election page was running in another. The NYTimes election module, San Fran Chronicle, and Current TV’s election coverage were open in other tabs. NPR was blasting through the apartment (and a few of my neighbors). When the final results were announced, people were dancing, shouting and hollering with joy in the streets on the sleepy block in the beach town of Santa Monica where I live.

I think back to how this relates to the last election.  Sites like Twitter, FB, and Current TV were still babies – if they had even been born yet. The technology required to build nimble news modules was not nearly as evolved.

The ability to communicate with others with lightning speed and accuracy was nothing like it is now. The very way we communicate with one another has totally evolved. As Seth Godin recently said, “The transformation of communication is real, it’s permanent and it’s more powerful than most of us notice”.

The last administration was a secretive club that could easily manipulate voters perceptions.  We’re entering a new era where we’re constantly being informed and always plugged-in, whether we like it or not.

The internet has finally become a forum for public discourse. I can quickly and easily express who I am voting for and why. I’m not going to try to convince you to do anything – just give you reasons why I think the way I do. And because we think in a similar way, maybe you’ll be open to what I say compared to, oh I don’t know, Fox News. When election time rolls around, being from Ohio becomes especially important to me. I grew up knowing lots of people (including myself at one point) who can be easily swayed by what they hear in their sheltered communities at church or around the dinner table. It’s a self-perpetuating  mechanism with no incoming feed from the outside world.

Not anymore.

Pulling the plug

Oftentimes people are interested to hear that I don’t have cable or basic television channels at home. I own an hdtv for viewing films and videocasts – and that’s about it. Admittedly, this wasn’t a renegade decision. I moved earlier in the year from Miracle Mile to Santa Monica and just never got around to turning the cable on. I use citywide wifi for internet (the bandwidth is decent and I don’t need a megawide pipe).

Not surprisingly I’m more productive sans TV. Although it was difficult at first to break the habit, not getting cable has proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I read books, magazines and blogs more often, listen to music, and spend more time getting organized and cleaning the apartment. I do feel unplugged from the outside world from time to time. So, how do I get my news and entertainment fix? Here’s how:

I find radio and the internet to be even more timely and comprehensive than television was. NPR rocks.  News sites and blogs allow me to aggregate feeds in one place, so i can quickly scroll through the news in my own time by selecting headlines to explore that are of relevant interest. Podcasts are also great for catching news shows on demand.


What can I say? Netflix is the bomb. I love having movies on hand to pop in whenever the mood strikes. This way I’m forced to watch something more educational or culturally significant than, say, randomly tuning in to a reality show, a rom-com on TBS or the latest style show on Bravo (don’t get me wrong, I love me some Heidi and Tim!). Sites like Hulu, comedycentral.com and Fancast allow me to stream shorts and full shows when the mood strikes.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you get your entertainment outside of traditional cable. Post a comment below!