Hedge funds might be trying to use Twitter to predict stock prices. But we all know what it's really good for: turning disagreements between grown-ups into heated ad hominen attacks with swears.
This week's feud came courtesy of Jeff Bercovici's story "When Journalism 2.0 Kills," which made a rather outlandish leap assigning blame for the death of 24 people in Afghanistan last week. Bercovici's argument, specious at best, is that those people died because a college student filed a report for Agence France-Presse about pastor Terry Jones's decision to burn a copy of the Koran, which was then syndicated all the over world, breaking a "widespread media blackout meant to avert violence." Bercovici didn't name the student, but he did blame new media's shift away from journalism schools and newsrooms and toward citizen bloggers and crowd-sourced reporting. He also called J-school professors and veteran TwitFighters Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis "new media utopians" who viewed the shift as an "unmitigated good." Big mistake, Bercovici. Huge.
Rather than tweeting about whether it's fair to blame the media for the actions of zealots, or whether blackouts are the answer to fascism, or even whether it might be possible to send Terry Jones to Gitmo for a bit, the feud revolved primarily around Bercovici calling the two new-media proponents unmitigated "utopians" without links (the nerve!) — in their minds blaming them for the deaths. Here's how it went down:
Of course it is.