I'm sure a lot of people would roll their eyes and shake their head when they read that Bob Woodward, a famous Washington political writer, said that he isn't on Twitter. "I'm not sure what it is," he said. "Part of my problem with the media is the impatience of speed which drives everything. As you know, I do long form. On Twitter, you can do 140 characters."
I mention this for tomorrow's Rebooting the News podcast, where I hope to discuss this with Jay as a follow-up to his comments, two weeks ago, about his disappointment that FriendFeed isn't keeping their system running. Actually disappointment is too mild a word. Jay is pissed. I said that it's his own damn fault for believing that FriendFeed was creating a service for him. They weren't. They were creating a service to serve their own purposes, whatever those may be. They never say, so we believe what we want to believe. But their lawyers make them tell the truth. They can do whatever they want, whenever they want for whatever reason, and they don't have to tell us. In other words, our interests and theirs are not very well aligned.
I cheered for Woodward the way an addict cheers for someone who was smart enough never to smoke the first cigarette, or take the first hit of coke or smack. I am stuck in Twitter, like the frog in the boiling water. I notice it's getting uncomfortable as they pull back features that were central to my adopting it in the first place. The ability to hack my own stuff in there. The level playing field where I could be as influential as the greatest media celebrity. The level playing field relative to Yahoo and Google and all the other Giants of the Valley. These are all lost, they were things I came to depend on, and now that they're gone, like my friend Jay -- I'm not happy. And as with Jay, it's my fault for believing, for no good reason, that things would more or less stay as they were.
The only way to get what we want is to make the stuff work the way we want it to work. We can't wait for Silicon Valley to do that for us, because they will never do it. It's not in their nature.
So mazel tov to Woodward. Keep your writing yours, and don't give it away so cheap.
And in the meantime, I keep looking for ways to get out of the predicament that I find myself in.