Social Justice in Social Media: Twitter vs. Blogs

I’m a fairly recent convert to Twitter.  I’ve actually had the service since close to its inception, but I never really managed to be a sustained user until this summer.  My use of the web for activism and social justice has largely centered around blogs, and around my Google Reader.  Every day, I skim through more than a thousand blog posts, news articles, and reports, flagging things I’d like to read later.  If I’m lucky, I do actually get to them and then re-flag to share, but the system needs work.  That, I’m discovering, is the beauty of Twitter.

When I scroll through my Reader dashboard, I have to skim over a few paragraphs of each post and try to figure out, from these first few paragraphs, whether the post is worth reading later.  Often I flag it and then learn later that it had nothing to do with what I thought the topic was.  Sometimes I miss things that I actually would’ve wanted to read.  That’s why, over time, I’m starting to delete blogs from my reader and instead follow the blogger/journalist/organization on Twitter.  Twitter isn’t just a curation tool for media. Even if you Tweet every single one of your posts, it forces you to summarize in some concise way.  You might tweet your headline (I do this, with some modifications, myself) or you might tweet a sentence about the post with a link.  Either way, it’s much quicker for me to scroll through these on my phone, starring interesting topics, than it is to look at the first paragraph of a post, which may or may not have to do with what I want to read about.  Even if the feed reader blurb is a similar length to a Tweet, it’s often less of a thesis statement.  That’s what Twitter really is, I think.  It’s the 140-character thesis.

It’ll be interesting to see, over time, with so many people who write and curate content now on Twitter, what happens to feed readers.  I intend to keep mine around for recipes and lolcats, if nothing else.  But I can see substantially slimming it down, giving myself more of a chance to write about social justice, rather than constantly reading.

About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on September 7, 2011, in activism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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