Don't Let the Bosses Ruin Twitter

A blog about business and economics.
April 1 2013 5:40 PM

The Case for Twitter Snark

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Twitter is awesome. It's infallible.

Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Ezra Klein, more machine than man twisted and evil, says there's too much snark and nonsense on Twitter and not enough healthy whole grains and substantive links.

I say: Pish posh.

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Twitter has, for me, two wonderful attributes. One is that it's full of fun and entertaining snark and nonsense. The other is that it's absolutely essential to my job. Everyone knows that the modern online journalist needs a robust social media presence. So if I'm sitting at my desk joking and kibbitzing on Twitter then I'm "working" whereas joking and kibbitzing in real life doesn't necessarily count. And leisure activities that count as work are valuable for two reasons. One is that you get paid to work, and money is good. The other is that life is full of dreary obligations that are neither work nor leisure—folding laundry and sweeping and figuring out why PEPCO has the wrong name on the electrical bill. "I'd rather go make some jokes" is not an answer your spouse is likely to accept as the reason you can't wash the dishes, but being at work is a totally valid thing to do with your time. And if working just so happens to involve a lot of joking around on Twitter, then you should consider yourself a lucky person indeed. And in fact I am a lucky person, as is Ezra Klein and all the rest of us fortunate enough to have jobs in which snarking around on Twitter counts as part of the job.

Until Klein goes and ruins it, that is.

(But seriously, I suspect some folks are just following the wrong people on Twitter—a good Twitter account to follow should be an eclectic mix of the substantive, the frivolous, and the "I can't believe anyone cares about that"; a well-cultivated following list isn't just a humorless information aggregating tool it's a vehicle for the kind of serendipity provided by traditional newspaper layout)

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.