After reading all of the “down on technology” posts Kory has been responding to, I thought I’d share one of my favorite bloggers and a great recent article of his: Roger Ebert’s blog entry Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!
I’ve recently become somewhat obsessed with Roger Ebert, and especially his blog. After losing his voice because of an invasive surgery, Ebert developed an extensive online persona. Ebert is a man who has been involved in the print industry for more than half a century (his first review was printed in 1958), and still, he is one of new media’s biggest fans. Despite the slow demise of print newspapers, he declares today, where movie critics are movie lovers who blog because they love film, the Golden Age of Movie Criticism. He believes the accessibility of blogs has made it possible for great writers who don’t want a career in journalism, or may not have the connections to succeed in the print world, to contribute to the previously exclusive world of film criticism.
But more about Tweets: remember all that class discussion and readings about how new media can give voice to students who feel like they don’t have one? Ebert embodies this.
Twitter for me performs the function of a running conversation. For someone who cannot speak, it allows a way to unload my zingers and one-liners. One of the problems with written notes and computer voices is that, by their nature, their timing doesn’t work. I used to have good timing. Now in real life a conversation will be whizzing along and a line will pop into my head and by the time I write it down and get someone to read it, the moment and the context will have disappeared. Often everything will grind to a halt while I remind people what I was referring to.
For him, new media, and twitter specifically, have given him a voice after (literally) losing his to cancer. New media has given him a way to bypass his physical limitations and continue to communicate with the world in the speed he wants. And because of it, he has developed a larger, youthful audience, which was celebrated when he was awarded the Person of the Year Webby Award.
Although Ebert isn’t explicitly talking about composition or pedagogy, I find his observations about new media to be applicable to our class discussions. Mostly, I recommend him because it’s so refreshing to read a man who defies the stereotypes; he’s older and employed by print media, and yet, he maintains to be one of technology’s biggest cheerleaders.