Twitter Twitter on the Wall

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On June 1 I began as a summer researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.  Surrounded by talented and enthusiastic youth, I find balance in the combination of tradition and innovation, and look forward to what I believe will be a challenging and engaging summer.

Today, in accord with my putatively “techie” status here at Berkman, I joined the ranks on Twitter.  In most respects opposed to what I find a vain and trendy obsession, I thought it necessary to use before I judge.  Twitter, or “tweeting,” makes public what to-date has been private.  It fundamentally alters how we present ourselves.  We choose to surface information in a way that shapes others’ perceptions of us, and in this self-awareness, I find the process rather vain. To the extent that Tweets can surface private information and add to public discourse and understanding, then such actions are perhaps useful.  To the extent that they create self-absorbed chatter, impelled by the presumption that followers care about our trivial moments, Twitter enables new-found vanity.

I’ve yet to form a resolute opinion, but I fear that the latter may subsume the former; we’ve created a new digital mirror-mirror-on-the-wall, and each Tweet makes us feel like we’re the fairest one of all.

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