Star Ledger columnist Mark DiIonno doesn't get social media. That's not terribly surprising. Many dead-tree media industry insiders still can't grasp the tectonic shift happening beneath their feet. But what's dissapointing is DiIonno's misguided attempt to criticize social networking web sites and knock 'em down a few pegs. DiIonno doesn't understand the function, value and point of social networking sites so he atttempts to belittle them and their users. However, the truth is that sites like twitter and Facebook are providing huge value to users, investors and media members willing to take the time to understand them and embrace their usage, like the folks below.
A college student found himself locked in an Egyptian jail until his word twitter post, or tweet, "Arrested," sparked a movement to secure his freedom. To DiIonno, such tweets are "dumb" and a "diversion" from a spending time with our own thoughts. One can only imagine how much time the student, James Karl Buck, would've had with his own thoughts if he didn't use twitter to broadcast what had happened to him.
Another person who's happy he won't have more time to spend with his private thoughts is David Murray. David used twitter to land himself a job late last year. Yes, a job late last year. While the economy was in free fall, David was tweeting his way to gainful employment. As the recession deapens and tougher times hit people and communities across the country, more people are looking to twitter and other social media sites for job leads, references and carrer-related help.
The top priority in the lives of the American people are their homes. So when wildfires threatened southern California communities, the TV news, local fire station and neighbors started tweeting fire updates so their neighbors could keep up with the latest news about the fires, including whether or not they had a home to come back to.
Sites like twitter are developing and deploying cutting edge technologies with large, private investments from venture capitalists. Entrepreneurs driving technological innovation via private invesment in smart management teams, 21st centurty technology and the future of communications? Sounds like just the thing our country needs right now.
Mark, you owe your readers an apology. Staying connected and sharing thoughts, links, information and news is increasingly how people across all age groups are communicating today. To deny that truth and call the sites "dumb" and make fun of their names is to completely miss the point, underestimate their value and cheapen the discourse. You're better than that, I hope.