Sure, you could deride the Twitterers called out in Stanley’s story—and their thousands of counterparts in the Twitosphere—as narcissistic/solipstistic/needy/greedy/what have you. Frankly, I don’t really care what their motivations are, or, for that matter, what combination of psychic needs has made them want to Twitter. Because the net result of a tweeting journosphere—one that makes conversation an integral part of the journalistic mandate—is transparency.
Rick Sanchez, for his part, responded to Stanley’s piece in a series of, yes, tweets: “wow, we made today’s new york times”…”know what’s cool,6 months ago we took out a laptop during a sunday newscast and twittered on air.100 of us. now NY frigging times.so cool!”… “best part, no marketing! no branding! no bs! no real cnn push.all you! totally organic, totally self derived. ground up.truly participatory!”
Sanchez’s cheerleading—essentially, in this case, one long, three-tweeted “wooooooooo!” —is…well, extreme. Twitter isn’t “totally self derived.” It isn’t “truly participatory!.” The wizard’s curtain hasn’t been completely pulled back—there’s still a selectivity, of course, to the information journalists decide to share with their followers, and knowing that David Gregory is currently eating a bagel doesn’t do much for consumers’ overall informational needs. But, still, it’s a start.
Given the choice between unedited exclamations from Rick Sanchez or, on the other hand, silence from him…I’d prefer the former. Given a choice between knowing how David Gregory prepares for Meet the Press, and not knowing…I’d rather know. Or, well, I’d rather know that I have the option of finding out. The net benefit of Twitter isn’t in individual tweets, but in the trajectory they suggest in the aggregate: with Twitter—and on Twitter, and to some extent because of Twitter—journalism is becoming, if not fully transparent, then ever more translucent. It’s becoming, quite literally, more enlightened. And that, Ms. Stanley, is a good thing.