Reluctant Habits

How Scott Tobias Turned the Film Critic Community on Twitter Into a Thoughtless Mob

Posted by in Criticism, Critics, Harassment, The A.V. Club, The Onion, tobias-scott, Twitter

Over the last week, Scott Tobias led a thoughtless collective harassment campaign against me. Does Twitter turn people into monsters? Why doesn’t the high road get enough credit in American life?

Why The Onion Must Be Held Accountable for Its Vile Tweet

Posted by in Academy Awards, Misogyny, The Onion, tobias-scott, Twitter, vanderwerff-todd, Wallis-Quvenzhane

On Sunday night, The Onion broke the rules of edgy comedy. Why then isn’t the magazine coming to terms with its mistake?

Why the Block Button Encourages Fear and Threatens Community

Posted by in Block Button, Fear, Online Community, Twitter

This 2,000 word essay examines the problematic impact of the block button and asks why we haven’t learned valuable lessons from community moderation in learning how to get along.

Hurricane Sandy: The Right to Yell Flood in a Crowded Twitter and Why Peter Vallone Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About

Posted by in comfortablysmug, Free Speech, Hurricane Sandy, Shashank Tripathi, Twitter, vallone-peter

Twitter was instrumental in conveying information during Hurricane Sandy, but free speech is too important to criminalize the trolls.

Is the New York Times Banning “Tweet” in the Newsroom?

Posted by in Language, New York Times, Twitter

This morning, The Awl‘s Choire Sicha reported that New York Times standards editor Phil Corbett had issued a memo to the newsroom suggesting that “tweet” (that verb used to refer to the act of posting on Twitter) was being actively discouraged within the Gray Lady’s mighty halls. The memo, which announced that “‘tweet’ has not yet achieved the status of standard English” went on to express dismay about “tweet” being used as a noun or verb. How could a word — reflecting a colloquialism, a negologism, or jargon — ever…read more


Linkrot on Steroids: The Problems with URL Shorteners

Posted by in Linkrot, Twitter

As Simon Owens recently observed, — a service that shortened URLs — is now gone. The links that it once helpfully compressed are now useless. For those who may have passed on a link to a pal, tweeted a particularly helpful article, or otherwise stopped an unruly URL from breaking in two because of a monitor’s constraining width, this metadata means nothing. How long will it be before all the other URL shortening services are about as valuable as a maniac with a fetish for smearing Crisco on random…read more


Alain de Botton on Responding to Critics

Posted by in Book Reviewing, de-botton-alain, Twitter, Updike, John

(This is the second of an interconnected two part response involving Alain de Botton. In addition to answering my questions, Alain de Botton was very gracious to send along this essay.) Technology Many people are only just waking up to how blurred web technology has made the boundaries between public and private. It used to be easy to know what a public statement was. It was one written for a newspaper or for a radio or television broadcast. But the web has made it harder to discern what is meant…read more

Alain de Botton Clarifies the Caleb Crain Response

Posted by in Book Reviewing, de-botton-alain, New York Times, Twitter, Updike, John

(This is the first of an interconnected two part response involving Alain de Botton. In addition to answering my questions, Alain de Botton was very gracious to send along this essay.) In last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, Caleb Crain reviewed Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. While regular NYTBR watchers like Levi Asher welcomed the spirited dust-up, even Asher remained suspicious about Crain’s doubtful assertions and dense prose. But on Sunday, de Botton left numerous comments at Crain’s blog, writing, “I will hate you till…read more

Family Disgrace

Posted by in Twitter

To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, nobody can make you feel inauthentic without your consent. And the phony who uttered the onerous words recorded by the good and kind Don Linn should be whacked in the kneecaps. Just so the phony can decide whether or not there is indeed a metric that can be applied while excruciating pain shoots through legs I realize that these are strong words, but they are necessary ones, I think. If you cannot feel and you wish to advocate emotional capitulation, then you have no business being…read more


Posted by in Twitter

Dear @MyFriend: You unfollowed me on Twitter today, and I simply haven’t been the same. There are salty beads of sweat slithering and agitating the angry furrows of my aging forehead and my left testicle has just popped out of my boxers. I am considering switching back to briefs, but I don’t think this will help. And I don’t think any of this will encourage you to follow me again on Twitter. But I must tell you the truth. Because you are, in no small sense, responsible for all this….read more


Grand Central Spams Twitter While Westlake’s Corpse is Still Warm

Posted by in Twitter, Westlake, Donald

Not less than 24 hours after the news of Donald E. Westlake’s death was broken by the New York Times‘s Jennifer 8. Lee, Grand Central (Westlake’s publisher) has seen fit to flood Twitter with endless retweets of what others have written about Donald E. Westlake, while simultaneously promoting Westlake’s final novel, Get Real. How would you like it if some huckster was trying to sell you something while you were attending a funeral? In all likelihood, you would punch the huckster in the face. Unfortunately, Grand Central can’t be punched…read more

Revised Thoughts on Twitter

Posted by in Twitter

Twitter has changed everything for me. I say this after last year’s unsuccessful initial plunge. Back then, I did not understand Twitter and dismissed it, as Tito Perez suggested in the comments, with the reactionary zeal of an old fogey waving a scolding finger at blogging. Perhaps part of the problem was that Twitter hadn’t quite found its sea legs. Much like the early days of blogging, Twitter was then an unruly expanse of stray text messages. It was a bit like attempting to sail in a murky lake littered…read more



Posted by in Twitter

Like Bud, I’ve found myself becoming something of a Twitter addict, embracing the space limitations and encouraging more impulsive streaks to fleck madly upon this microcanvas. I don’t think any of my tweets are particularly compelling, but Twitter is certainly a good deal of fun. And in a strange way, it’s actually helped me a little as a writer. My own Twitter history has taken some twists. For a long time, I was dormant, putting up a tweet every two months or so. I had first attempted to use Twitter…read more


Cysted Twitter

Posted by in Twitter

Maud has a very interesting post on how Twitter may very well be doing its part to divulge publishing deals to the public. What’s fascinating about all this is that, unlike blogging, corporate blocking software won’t prevent some folks from Twittering. They can, after all, type in sentences from their cell phones. You no longer need a keyboard to blog. Because the Twitter people have made this all so easy. So if there is now such an overwhelming urge to confess (the new form of resistance?), then why not encourage…read more