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Of Twitter & politics.

It's been almost 30 years ago since "Robocop," the movie that put the dys in dystopia, predicted the short attention span of future news consumers:

"This is Mediabreak. You give us three minutes and we'll give you the world."

But even director Paul Verhoeven didn't imagine news in 140 characters delivered completely without the filter of editors, reporters, news directors and announcers.

We have a love-hate relationship with Twitter, and not because it can make the craft of journalism seem obsolete. Well, not just because of that anyway.

The problem with Twitter is that it has brought minimization to information just when national and global politics is most complex.

Iran deal good/Iran deal bad. Dow Jones up/Dow Jones down. Trump most popular/Trump most unpopular.

We also love and hate the fact that Twitter, and other social media, allows political leaders to reveal themselves more often and more candidly than ever before. Is it good or bad that we now know that state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, would declare himself "#armed&ready" after a constituent approached him in a parking lot and asked him a question he didn't want to answer?

People who take to social media need to apply to their postings the lesson learned from "Jurassic Park" a few years after "Robocop": Just because we can does not necessarily mean we should.

In this case, just because a politician can speak his mind to the masses in the time it takes to text a few dozen letters doesn't mean he should. Especially on serious matters that deserve more nuance and less snark.

President Harry Truman had a temper, as he readily acknowledged. His practice, which he didn't always follow, was to write a letter to the object of his anger and then wait a day--or forever.

In the Twitter age, perhaps we should all at least wait an hour before we click "tweet."

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Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Sep 14, 2015
Words:317
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