The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Thom’s Up / Thom’s Down

Managing Editor Thom Fountain is filled with equal amounts pure, molten rage and sunny, good times.  Those traits are put to the ultimate test as he gives today’s most pressing arts news either a “Thom’s Up” or a “Thom’s Down.”  I wouldn’t want a “Thom’s Down” if I were you.

Thom’s Up: Twitter
Raise your hand if you were in Egypt within the last month. Bahrain? Anyone in Libya? I’m going to assume there are no hands up. If there are, then I owe you one million high fives and a Cherry Coke.

The point is though, a very small percentage of people around the world were/are actually on the ground witnessing these huge, complex uprisings. And even if you were, I’m sure you weren’t everywhere at once. That’s where Twitter has come in as an essential tool in live updating from revolutions in the Middle East, protests at the state capitol or the cleanup after this weekend’s blizzard here in Eau Claire.

Journalists such as NPR’s Andy Carvin (@acarvin) and The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) have been ‘curating’ tweets from the revolutionaries and protesters who are in the midst of these massive uprisings by retweeting and confirming reports. This kind of live journalism gives those of us back in the states a good idea of what is going on minute by minute in countries that are thousands of miles away.

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This kind of immediacy works on a much more local level as well. The City of Eau Claire (@CityofEauClaire) has been using Twitter — and more notably Facebook — to keep citizens updated on plowing and ticketing after some of the larger storms that have hit the area this year. They also listen to concerns through these sites and respond to people’s questions. This kind of interactivity connects people to their government in a way that has never been seen before.

Then again, not everyone uses Twitter for good…

Thom’s Down: Twitter
Twitter sux. Lyk
4 real.
Actually not. As you can see from my “Thom’s Up,” I

But there are definitely some problems and complaints that come up with social networking.

There’s a loss of personal interaction, the dissemination of false news and reports and the pointless updates that cram your live feed with the fact that your roommate ate DA BEST BACON OF HIS LIFE #AWESOME this morning.

These all have their place in the pantheon of hatred a lot of people have for social networking, but for me, the king of all kings is the degradation of grammar and spelling.

Having 140 characters is absolutely no excuse to butcher the English language. Just look at the journalists above or any other reputable user on Twitter and you’ll see that you don’t have to come off like a 13-year-old textaholic when sending updates.

The worst is when this Seventh Ring of Hell for English professors permeates the accounts of people we’re supposed to look to to solve our
problems: politicians.

The easy one to pick on lately is Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker, who has been keeping the people of his state informed on the proposed budget repair bill.


Whether you agree with the bill or not, I think we can all agree that “Thankfully things seem 2 b civil today! Let’s keep it that way! Thx!” is the most annoying thing that has hit the Internet since Tila Tequila was everyone’s MySpace friend.

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