Maria Popova: In a new world of informational abundance, content curation is a new kind of authorship » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism

Maria Popova: In a new world of informational abundance, content curation is a new kind of authorship » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism.

 

Does anyone recall Gissing’s New Grubb Street? The book ends with the successful writer embarking upon the new commuter magazine, Chit-Chat, and abandoning the long slough work of novel writing and real thought. Chit chat opposes thought because it surfs (surfaces?) the top of the head and ignores the plumb of heart. Goes without saying that Gissing found this offensive, and equally, that he found it inevitable, and equally that he probably would have wanted it to be he winning, for none of the authors depicted in this risibly bleak Naturalist account is particularly rewarding or otherwise worth copying, and none is even as sexy or powerful as London’s Martin Eden, which takes a different–American?–Naturalist take.

Do I see Twitter as chit chat? It *is* the vehicle of fast talk and it can encourage the semblance of conversation, and conversation–fast–is fun. But tweeting is not real dialogue, just as we can always discern when someone talks to his phone vs his friend face to face. It’s speech snippified. Okay, no problem there. But it is also not particularly revolutionary, just as SMS wasn’t–and has effectively, already, disappeared.

People will always find fast if not better (wrong evaluative) ways of communicating or seeming to communicate. “Satisfactory” comes to mind rather than “better.”

What do I like doing? I like being at parties or seminars or classes or meetings and holding multiple conversations simultaneously, especially if they are wildly disparate topics; I like being more than one person at any time, I suppose, where “person” is the spun, woven thread of a single conversation. I like losing myself in talk.

I think a lot of people are like this. Twitter seeks to provide the means by which one can effectuate that. But it doesn’t really. I can see something like that one day doing it perfectly, but in the meantime, one has to wonder: what’s wrong with just having a party, symposium, class, seminar, meeting, conference–with seeing people. And talking.