Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blogging about Twittering and Facebook Statusing

I have joined the phenomenon which is Twitter. As Sam Seaborn once said on West Wing, let's forget the fact that I'm coming a
little late to the party and embrace the fact that I showed up at all.

I was an early adopter to Facebook, joining back in the days when it was limited to .edu e-mail addresses (almost seems quaint now), but I've been slow to the other platforms which have defined this technological age. I started this blog back almost two years ago now (well after blogs became commonplace -- although, in my defense, I did write for the nascent back in 1997, and created and edited other websites in the late 1990s, which had a lot of blog-like qualities before the term blog was coined). But I never got into "Twittering," figuring instead that anytime I had anything to say, I'd just post it here. And since I like to drone on and use five words when two would do (a habit I'm trying to break when it comes to drafting legal briefs), limiting myself to the 140 words of a Twitter update seemed too constraining. Plus, I always had Facebook status updates to use whenever I did want to say something, succinctly, about what I was up to.

I've had a change of heart though, and now, You can follow me on Twitter. And I have Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill to thank. I never really followed people's "Tweets" on Twitter before I think Ben Smith at Politco (or maybe it was Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic, I forget which) referenced the Senator's Twittering of the negotiations over President Obama's stimulus bill. McCaskill's Twitters were candid (refreshing for a Washington politician) and I became hooked reading them (so much so that I put my following of the Senator's messages on my list of "25 Interesting Things About Me" on Facebook -- Another internet fad I gave into, but in a much quicker fashion). It was about then I realized the value of Twitter, and how entertaining and informative the content people post on Twitter can be. And along with now following Twitter feeds of friends of mine, there's David Gregory of Meet the Press, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and others. Some of the posts are interesting, others just allow you to see the real person behind the column or television show that you read or see. And, I think it can only be good for business. If I feel like I know David Gregory or Chris Cillizza a little bit better as people because I read their Twitter feed, I'm going to be more likely to watch Meet the Press as opposed to This Week or read The Fix as opposed to something else. It's another great example of the internet making our vast world smaller, and actually bringing people together (especially when people like Gregory use their Twitter feed to actively engage with and communicate with viewers or readers).

So by joining the ranks of Twitter, does that mean I am abandoning the Facebook status update? Not at all. While the two appear to serve the same function (Facebook asks 'What Are You Doing Right Now?' while Twitter asks 'What Are You Doing?') I see them as two very different and distinct mediums. Twitter is almost a mini-blog, a stream-of-consciousness collection of thoughts as they hit me. Thoughts that don't merit an entire blog post, but yet, seem worth sharing. I'll continue to use Facebook status updates, on the other hand, for just that, status updates. I like that distinction because I'm friends with hundreds of more people on Facebook than I am on Twitter, so actually using the status update to update my status makes more sense. Plus, I can see updating Twitter multiple times a day -- If I did that on Facebook, it would quickly overwhelm my wall and my friends' Newsfeeds, and that wouldn't be good for anyone. What we need is a Twitter application for Facebook which posts your Twitter feed without clogging your Newsfeed or Wall, and without hijacking your Facebook status updates. I'm sure that's coming (if it doesn't already exist).

So, now I feel my life is almost too integrated with the internet, though I'm sure I'll get over their feeling soon enough. But with a blog column for an internet newspaper, this blog, my Facebook account, and now, Twitter (most of which I can view and update from my Blackberry -- No wonder President Obama refused to give his up) odds are something else will soon come along that will further strengthen this bond. Yet, I don't think that's a bad thing. As I said, there's something about Twittering that connects people, and I'm sure in the future, we'll see the value and utility of those connections expand exponentially.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Welcome to Monday, the New Thursday

Remember was Thursday was "Must See TV"? Didn't seem that long ago. Friends, Seinfeld, ER, Mad About You, a bunch of other random sitcoms that never made it, like Fred Savage's Working and that Christina Applegate sitcom (Jesse maybe?). Thursday's aren't so much good for that anymore. Now all we have (that I watch anyway -- and that's the only thing that's important right?) is Survivor. Sure, other people watch CSI and The Office and 30 Rock (and Grey's Anatomy I guess, but I think most folks, like me, have just become annoyed with that show), but Thursday is certainly a far cry from the appointment television it used to be.

And then, there's Monday. So many shows my DVR is on the verge of over-exhaustion. Here's my schedule for tonight (or say a normal Monday, considering I've got a few other things on my plate tonight -- And I can fit all this in thanks to the magic of my DVR which turns a 60 minute show into 42 commercial free minutes of television:

8:00-8:50 -- Countdown with Keith Olbermann
8:50-9:30 -- House
9:30-10:10 -- 24
10:10-10:30 -- How I Met Your Mother
10:30-11:10 -- Trust Me
11:10-11:50 -- Heroes
11:50-sleep: -- The Tonight Show

Now, of course, I don't have to watch everything in one night, but if I'm home, I might as well gorge on television. But just look at that lineup. A news show, a late night show, three dramas, a dramedy, a comedy, five networks (NBC, MSNBC, CBS, FOX, and TNT).

How can you top Monday? You can't. House, I've already written about. 24, obviously, has had its ups and downs. The shows' fifth season (the Evil President Logan year) was one of the best season's of television I've ever seen. The next season (the Evil Jack's family year) was one of the worst. When I heard the show was bringing Tony Almeida back from the dead, this season, I thought the show was getting desperate. Yet, the explanation for his return is very logical and has been well-handled, and this season has been very good so far. Back to the 24 of old. I am getting a bit tired though of moles in the upper echelon of the White House. 24's done that to death already, and it was a focal point of Prison Break and numerous other shows. It's time to come up with some new obstacle.

Heroes, similarly, has had its ups and downs, but I'm not giving up on it yet, as the new chapter which begins tonight ("Fugitives") looks to recapture the magic of the first season (though every new chapter supposedly was supposed to do that). Bringing in the brilliant Zeljko Ivanek is a great start, as from Damages to John Adams to 24 to The West Wing, Zeljko is great in everything he's in.

The recent success of How I Met Your Mother is gratifying as a longtime fan of the show. It didn't have a lot of critical or rating success in its first years, but CBS stuck with it, and it's the only comedy I watch, and it's both very funny, and yet, a show with a soul at the same time, which isn't just mindless slapstick (though there's some of that too). It continues to grow its audience, and it's hitting its stride (especially when Scrubs' Sarah Chalke guest starred last season into this start of this season).

And Trust/Me, while new, seems to be a show worth watching. I was always a big fan of NBC's Ed, and Tom Cavanaugh brings a lot of Ed Stevens to his role as an ad writer in this buddy dramedy about the modern world of advertising. Plus -- Monday means Headlines on Jay Leno. Can't beat that.

So, I guess my message to the TV executives (who, I'm sure, read my blog on a daily basis): Spread the wealth. Why have all your good shows on Monday? There's tons of bad television on the other six days of the week, save my DVR some work. Or, maybe it's better to have all these shows on the same day. You can watch them all and have the rest of the week TV free (except for NCIS, LOST, Damages, Survivor, The Amazing Race and 60 Minutes of course, plus nightly editions of Hardball, Countdown, Rachel Maddow, and The Tonight Show).

And with that, I need to get back to my television.

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