Below is a response I wrote to a student’s blog post questioning the validity of Twitter (a question I believe is crucial!!) Her sense was, what’s the big deal?

In trying to explain the big deal, I tried below to engage her in the larger question of being open to all of the new media technocrapology flying at us. We have to know it exists, learn how to use it, find out its role in industry, decide if it does anything for is in our personal/professional lives, and once we’ve figured that all out, either use it or chuck it. Then get back up and wait for the Next New Thing to whiz by us and start all over again. That’s just the deal, and part of the fun. If it’s not fun – or funnISH, well, that’s another challenge. “This seems stupid” lets us off the hook in a way that I want my students to push through. Even if it is stupid.

Your critical eye and suspicion about new media technologies is a good instinct…I have it too. I think it’s important to strike a balance between being critical and being curious.

If all the big shots are using Twitter, and it is having an impact on global disasters, it’s something we must at least know about. That’s the deal with new media. Stuff erupts, you must become familiar enough with it to decide whether or not it works for your life…but you still have to know what it is, what it does, and why folks love/hate it. Especially if you want to be a broadcaster, your future will be full of these kinds of technologies. You’ll need to be open to the stupidest of them, and then decide for yourself what the possibilities might be.

I present this stuff as it comes at us. Don’t mistake me educating you with me trying to convince you of something’s worth. The worth is in the exploration and information.

Okay, so obviously I really liked that blog post because it engaged me, forced me to think and apparently required me to respond in detail. THAT’s a great post! I’d like to see you pushing yourself more to write more and really use the blog to the fullest potential you can.

Your career goals require you to be an expert in all of the forms I’m presenting, so if that’s what you’re wanting, take full advantage of the class to get yourself in a marketable, educated position for hiring. I’m so glad the Globe photo spread made an impression on you. As I keep saying, the most powerful way I can teach you all of this is to share examples and people who are doing great work. Describing a great photo essay to you is, well, not anywhere near as useful as having you explore and engage with one on your own. Okay, so push harder – in class, in your blog.