A wonderful response to NYT editor Bill Keller’s hand-wringing post on social media was written today by Mimi Johnson as a guest post on her husband’s blog. Ms. Johnson has experienced the social media revolution first-hand as the wife of a newspaperman, and her insight (and writing chops) come through loud and clear:
In response to the Times blogger Nick Bilton’s well-reasoned post about his column, Mr. Keller offered that he “praised Twitter effusively.” No, I’d say his praise of Twitter was a perfunctory sop while his criticism of it was effusive. Why? Even though Mr. Keller understands the various tentacles of social media intellectually, emotionally he doesn’t like them. He is undoubtedly a sophisticated man, who must have realized long ago that change always brings loss as well as gain. Indeed, he mentions his own father’s regret at the passing of the slide rule in favor of the calculator. But, as the ancient saying goes, “the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.” Mr. Keller recognizes the social media caravan and he does not like it one bit. So how does he bark his disapproval? By trying to make those who embrace it feel stupid for doing so.
I met Ms. Johnson once at a Cedar Rapids tweetup. In addition to being a wonderful writer (as this post demonstrates), I can attest that she is also a gracious, charming and delightful woman.