James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for January 5th, 2009

Twits, tweets and Twittering: Anti-social networking

Posted by James McPherson on January 5, 2009

Apparently the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Bill O’Reilly, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and at least 30 other people were hacked into today. Also affected was the account of Britney Spears (and no, she probably was not the inspiration for the name of the social networking site).

“The attacks came after Twitter suffered a vicious phishing scam over the weekend, during which everyday Twitter users may have been tricked into logging on to a page masquerading as the Twitter front page, according to the site,” CNN reports. In other words, if you communicate via Twitter, you may want to change your password.

As I’ve said before, I don’t get the appeal of Twitter–though I am impressed with Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page editor Mark Trahant’s use of his 140 characters to produce a four-line poem each weekday. His latest “NewsRime,” which is related to today’s news: “Oh, NO! SPAM on Twitter/suffice to say the taste is bitter/140 characters has been such fun/please don’t make this a medium to shun.”

Not great poetry, but then as I’ve also noted previously, few things worth saying or knowing can adequately be expressed in 140 characters, and most of those should be said more personally. If Fox News really wants to admit that O’Reilly is gay, for example, he probably would do it himself on his own show, not via Twitter. And the message would spell his name correctly.

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