Did you watch it last night? It was an amazing night of TV, of Twitter (that instant snark convo), and of politics. My twitter feed was full of journos saying to each other: Wow, there’s a lot of energy here! Don’t you feel more buzz than in Tampa? I thought this was supposed to be the dispirited convention, but these folks are excited. You could see that in every breakaway shot of the convention floor: Folks were cheering, nodding, yelling back in witness. Over and over again, the Dems boasted proudly about standing up for health care, equal pay, LGBT rights (including the freedom to marry), and yes, reproductive rights, without apology.
I'm not a huge fan of the internet acronym tl;dr. For those who are unaware, it stands for "too long; didn't read." As someone who writes long features for a magazine, I like to think readers will read a longer piece of writing if it is properly engaging. However, there is one form of writing that certainly doesn't meet that standard: terms-of-service agreements. Sure, you'll likely page through the agreements for longer, seemingly weightier agreements like mortgages and credit cards. But what about the daily legal pacts you sign as a matter of course? Want to buy something from the iTunes store? You'll have to wade through over 15,000 words of legalese. Even then, should you want to download an app for your iPhone, you'll need to consent to yet another agreement.
The headline story at Politico is a look at the frustrations of journalists and other observers as they pertain to the 2012 presidential election. In short, they are frustrated with the “small scale” of the election, and the degree to which the campaigns are engaged in constant warfare over trivial concerns. Here’s Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns:
Dating to the beginning of the cycle, 2012 has unfolded so far as a grinding, joyless slog, falling short in every respect of the larger-than-life personalities and debates of the 2008 campaign.
The Friday Music Break is coming a bit early in the day today, and the reason is that I got this in the old Twitter feed and wanted to pass it along before it spreads across the Internet. Astute readers may know that I'm a huge fan of Symphony of Science, which is one of those rare needles of awesomeness in the haystack of awful autotune videos. Well the creator of Symphony of Science, John Boswell, has worked his magic on Mr. Rogers for PBS, and the result should make your day. Enjoy:
The coming week is shaping up to feature a hostile fight between tech companies and content producers as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP bills are debated in Congress. Reddit and Wikipedia have announced their intention to go dark for 12 hours on Wednesday to protest the bills, and rumors that Google, Facebook, and Twitter might join in have circulated.
P. took the subway to Bowling Green. On his way to the exit, he passed a line of police officers accompanied by bomb-sniffing dogs. Outside, police had surrounded the “Charging Bull” with barricades and, a few blocks north, sealed off a stretch of Wall Street around the Stock Exchange. P. tried to look nonchalant as he carried a black messenger bag that contained a first-aid kit, a bottled solution of liquid antacid and water (to remedy the effects of tear gas and pepper spray), fifteen Clif bars (carrot cake), and several hundred photocopied maps, showing seven possible locations. “We decided that low-tech communication methods would be best,” P. told me. “If we’d used a mass text message, or Twitter, it would have been easy for the police to track down who was doing this…”
Down below, my very smart colleague Paul Waldman entertains the idea of increasing Twitter's character limit, riffing off a recent piece on the same by Slate's Farhad Manjoo. Sidestepping the linguistic specifics of the tweet capacity question, I have to ask, if there was enough demand for that sort of thing, wouldn't that be called something like TwoEightyer, or Chatterer, or, more to the point, something other than "Twitter"?
I once joked that the logical extension of Twitter was a service called Blurter, where all posts were limited to one character. Sure, you could see what someone has to say via their Twitter feed, but wouldn't it be quicker to get Lady Gaga's message, "U"? Both concise and intriguing. Now, Farhad Manjoo suggests something radical: What if Twitter doubled their character limit? The 140-character limit came from the pre-smartphone era, when the service's creators thought people would all be using it by sending SMS messages, which were limited to 160 characters. But that's no longer true:
The first thing you need to know about Rep. **Anthony Weiner**'s press conference this afternoon is that, at at the beginning, there wasn't much Anthony Weiner. Instead, conservative provocateur **Andrew Breitbart** made an appearance, vigorously defending his "reporting" on the New York congressman's Twitter troubles, and challenging reporters to find fault with his coverage.
Of late, there's been an emerging conventional wisdom about the 2012 campaign and social media, which goes like this: What the 2008 Obama campaign did was extraordinary, but things are moving fast, and now the Republicans have caught up. After all, just look at how many Facebook friends Sarah Palin has! Micah Sifry of TechPresident says this is wrong -- in terms of the campaign, what really matters is the kind of data the campaigns can gather, and how they can use it to multiply their organizing and fundraising efforts: