Where Twitter Is Taking Us

The age of Twitter, and where the quick, quick digital impulse goes next. Clay Shirky and Andy Carvin join us.

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". (eldh/Flickr)

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". (eldh/Flickr)

People laughed when Twitter hit the digital scene. A social network of 140-character micro-blogs. Little tiny bursts of text. What you had for lunch. How great you’re feeling this morning. How hot Jenny is. What would we really do with that? Well, some still laugh.

But Hosni Mubarak’s not laughing. Twitter helped fill Tahrir Square in Cairo, and the dictator is out. Bank of America’s not laughing. They moved to hike fees. Twitter pushed back. Fees gone. 100 million users tweet about great ribs – and revolution.

This hour On Point: Clay Shirky, Andy Carvin and where Twitter takes us.

-Tom Ashbrook


Clay Shirky, Assistant Arts Professor in the New Media focused graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.

Andy Carvin,  Senior Strategist at NPR’s Social Media Desk.

From Tom’s Reading List “Now that 2011 is coming to a close, it’s worth looking back at an intellectual argument that played out just as the year was beginning — back before we saw the spread of the Arab Spring, the UK riots, the Occupy movement, and so much else.”

Danger Room
“In the early days of the Libya war, U.S. commanders were adamant that they didn’t communicate with the Libyan rebels about what targets to bomb. As it turns out, they don’t need to. They’ve got Twitter.

Business Insider “Along with Charles River Ventures and about a dozen other individuals, one of Glass’s earliest investors in Odeo was a former Google employee named Evan Williams. Williams was more involved with Odeo than most investors are with startups in their portfolios, and eventually, Odeo moved from Noah’s apartment to Williams’s. Williams, who had recently sold a company called Blogger to Google, had just bought a nice house and wanted to put his old apartment to good use.”

Video: Shirkey On Technology And Press Freedom

In this video, NYU professor Clay Shirky delivers a compelling lecture on the intersection of technology, the press, and democracy as part of the 25th anniversary of Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center.

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