Saturday, December 27, 2014

Twitter Truthiness

Yesterday I broke down and subscribed to the Sun's online digital news service. I had to face facts that, although I talk the talk of how important journalism is, I haven't been willing to pay for it. That's just wrong.

So why am I still scouring Twitter for local news? Well...

@Corebear_: Howard County is like the shy boring cousin of the Maryland County family

@StevenMHines: The fact that there isn't a Chipotle in Clarksville is the worst part about Howard County.

It's fun. It's wacky. It is extremely local. Sometimes it provides a better close-up of what is happening than the Sun could ever have. On the other hand, much of what people say is completely subjective, unverified, incomplete. Often it feels like watching people passing notes in class--remember that? Before there was texting? Little snippets of communication.

In that way tweets are like primary sources. I remember being granted permission to visit the library at the Maryland Historical Society (for a graduate course) to read letters about Baltimore's connection with Liberia. It's quite a serious business. You must go through security, bring nothing in with you. You must hold the documents while wearing special cotton gloves so that the oil and perspiration from your hands will not damage them.

Twitter? Not so serious. But sifting, resifting all the shreds of information for something relevant is still the stuff of the basic research class. You have to know what to look for. You have to know how to look. Some days I feel like the Yukon Cornelius of Twitter, prospecting for Columbia and Howard County gold.

I bumped into this a minute ago. Not sure how I feel about it.

@ShipleysGrant: Start living the village life. Right in Howard County. #Shipleys Grant

Um, the "village life"? Wouldn't that be Columbia? Not sure if I feel a rant coming on or just another blog post.



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