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Archives: January 2013

Love it, Hate it, Twitter Forges On

In response to Matt Lewis‘ declaration of hatred for Twitter Wednesday in a column in The Week, Ben Howe and Paul Brandus have written stories to counter Lewis’ view. Howe, who recently joked on Twitter about Lewis having sex with animals, wrote his “Why I love Twitter” for RedState; Brandus published his in The Week.

Howe admits he first got hooked on Twitter after attending CPAC. He made new virtual friends. He acquired a nasty habit of trolling for fights. “An easily achievable goal,” he says.

Like a yo-yo dieter, he has had his ups and downs. In 2010, he produced a video that went viral and as he says, his email blew up. But then, eventually, he went on a downward spiral. He couldn’t keep up. Worse, he didn’t want to keep up. Oh the horror.

Soon he implemented rules for himself. An excerpt:

“It was then that I made the decision to have 3 requirements for following someone: 1) I know them in real life, 2) they were interactive on twitter (as in, actually speaking to me rather than just expecting me to follow them because they followed me), or 3) they are someone who interests me regardless of interaction.

Miraculously, Twitter began to become meaningful for him again. “17,000 followers later, I can’t imagine my business or my networking without twitter,” he writes. Countering Lewis, who believes Twitter has become a “dark place” and a “prison”, Howe argues that the petty sh-t that happens on Twitter is just life and “simply how social interaction works.” Really? Do people in real life rattle each others cages by joking that they have sex with animals when they disagree with their political beliefs?

Brandus, meanwhile, has his own views on the matter. Read more

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Separated at Birth: TNR’s Franklin Foer

Today we naturally pair up TNR Editor Franklin Foer and NYT‘s Nate Silver.

Atlantic Announces New Hires, Promotions

Atlantic Editor-in-Chief James Bennet shot a memo to staff earlier today on behalf of him, Magazine Editor Scott Stossel, and Digital Editor Bob Cohn.

The purpose: To announce three hires and two internal moves.

The gist: The new editor of the Global Channel is WaPo‘s Olga Khazan. Elisa Glass joins as Art Director from Northern Virginia magazine. Now don’t f–k this up. Her name is EE-Lisa, pronounced like eBook. The third new hire is Esther Yi as associate editor. She was managing editor of Harvard’s The Crimson.

See the internal memo…

Read more

USA Today’s Kucinich, Longoria on HBO’s Maher

This Friday USA Today‘s Jackie Kucinich will appear on HBO Bill Maher‘s Real Time for the first time. The other guests will be Alex Gibney, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, actress Eva Longoria and Sam Harris.

Whose Hair?

Last night at the The New Republic bash at Bibiana, this puff of white hair jumped out at us like a big giant marshmallow.

So who is it?

Send your best guesses to fishbowldc@mediabistro.com or to Betsy@mediabistro.com.

TNR Sparkles at Bibiana

By Eddie Scarry and Betsy Rothstein

The New Republic celebrated its relaunch last night at Bibiana Restaurant where politicos and journalists from print and TV mingled with bigwigs like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.J.) and Americans for Tax Reform Prez Grover Norquist over hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. The highlight of the evening: Answering the question, “Who is Franklin Foer?”

Meanwhile, we spoke to Publisher and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who was all smiles and relaxed. “I’m feeling super exited, energized,” he said, as we cornered him at the bar. “It’s a big moment for us.” Asked if he’s been sleeping, he replied, “I will sleep tonight.”

At around 7:30 p.m. FishbowlDC approached a man with glasses who we mistook for NYT‘s Nate Silver. We were all ready to ask if he was excited to be in the same room as Politico‘s Dylan Byers, who during the presidential election questioned whether Silver was a “one-term celebrity.”

The mystery man in question had a laugh with two other male attendees before denying that he was Silver. Except then he said he was Silver. Then said he wasn’t. Then someone else said he was. Finally, he identified himself as Franklin Foer, editor of TNR (pictured above). But by that point, we didn’t believe that either.

After consulting Google images, it was revealed that he was indeed Foer. It was our mistake, though Foer did acknowledge that he shares “some Semitic features” with Silver.

In a party speech, Hughes said the challenge ahead is to “produce a magazine 20 times a year that is as good” as the relaunch issue, which features an interview with President Obama. He called the TNR team “the best in the business” and said he wants the magazine to “become financially sustainable in the coming years.” In a moment that drew audible awes from the crowd, he admitted, “The day that Frank Foer agreed to come back to TNR was one of the best days of my life.”

Who showed up? See more pictures. Read more

Politico Pro Loses Editor To Bloomberg

What techy would flee to Bloomberg on the heels of recent layoffs?

Politico Pro Technology Editor Elizabeth Wasserman, that’s who. Politico‘s Keith Perine also left Politico this month for Bloomberg. The upshot for Bloomberg? Wasserman knows the industry inside and out and has the sources to show for it. “All I know is they threw a lot of money at her,” a media source tells us.

Before Politico, she worked for The Post Standard, the Orlando Sentinel, Long Island’s Newsday, and the San Jose Mercury News during the dot-com boom.

Regards to her dog, Snoopy. Sorry, Snoopy, her hours won’t be any better at Bloomberg.

See Wasserman’s goodbye note in which she notes Bloomberg made her an offer she couldn’t refuse…

Read more

Geeks Unite at the W in Puerto Rico

Beet TV is hosting its two-day executive digital retreat in Vieques, Puerto Rico. They hope you can join them for their FIVE HOUR webcast with digital leaders from Bravo/NBCU, Dailymotion, Digitas, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the Gannett Company, Forrester Research, GroupM,  MediaVest, MIT, Videology, the Washington Post Company and Zeebox.

The live webcast is on February 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interviews will take place at the W Hotel in Vieques.  The event focuses on “developments and trends in the fast-emerging medium of digital video.” Hosting the live show are Rob Norman of GroupM, Jason Pontin of MIT,  strategist Ashley Swartz and Beet.TV’s Andy Plesser.

See the full list of panelists… Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

“You can suck my ass.” — E!’s Chelsea Handler to CNN’s Piers Morgan last night after he suggested she wasn’t a very good interviewer and saying, “I can help you.”

Uh oh.

“Unusually high number of critical replies to my column today from folks who haven’t read/understood it. Maybe my fault.” — NationalReviewOnline‘s Jonah Goldberg.

Reporter encounters stinky train

“A @wmata train filled w/ wet sheep would smell less like wet sheep than one filled with drenched people in suits.” — Dave Levinthal, senior political reporter for Center for Public Integrity.

Columnist gives props to Stewart for interviewing skills

“Points to Jon Stewart for being tenacious in his questioning of Al Gore about Al Jazeera.” — Politico‘s Roger Simon.

Editor blames mullet hairdo

“It’s always the people with mullets who break out the checkbook at the grocery store.” — Fox News Contributor and RedState‘s Erick Erickson.

Journo mixes up days of week

“Informed sources tell me that today is in fact Wednesday. Everything else about the last tweet was right though.” — National Journal‘s Scott Bland, who had written, “On Tues, Patrick Murphy appeared in a House Maj PAC video. On Thurs, he sent a fundraising email deploring the Citizens United ruling #FL18.”

Unimportant Q to Ponder: “There’s your friend. You guys speaking these days?” Anonymous journalist to FBDC last night at The New Republic launch party glancing toward Slate‘s Dave Weigel at the other end of the frigid room. More on the party coming up…

Politico Playbook publish time: 6:51 a.m. Morning Oopsy: While Playbook’s author screams loudly in his first item that he was “exclusively” reporting the upcoming Gridiron dinner speakers, the news of Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar being among the speakers was reported three weeks ago. Gov. Bobby Jindal as the GOP speaker was new. A special Happy Birthday to Politico‘s media writer Dylan Byers, whose birthday was exclusively reported in Playbook this morning. We’re even giving him these special chocolates.

 Senator brushes off reporter

“Tried to speak to Sen. John Kerry after his farewell speech but he wouldn’t let me finish the question.” — The Daily Caller‘s ambush video reporter Nicholas Ballasy.

Freelancer regrets uncontrollable tweeting… Read more

Columnist Says Twitter Has Become a Prison

Matt Lewis, a columnist for The Week and a media contributor to The Daily Caller, is hitting chords today with a column titled, “Why I hate Twitter.” NBC Political Director Chuck Todd called his story a “compelling case” for why Twitter is like high school. Author David Limbaugh, brother of conservative bigmouth Rush Limbaugh, swallowed the story whole. “I learned during the Fluke kerfuffle that the block button was my friend,” he reacted on Twitter this morning.

Naturally detractors chimed in. “Guys, the economy may be tanking but we need to focus on the important matters,” wrote conservative blogger Ben Howe on Twitter. “Like how people on Twitter are super duper mean.”

Party lines aside, Lewis says he’s received more positive private feedback from prominent opinion leaders on this piece than nearly any other he has written. “I can’t tell you how many smart and successful people have reached out to me today to tell me they feel the same way,” he told FishbowlDC in an extensive email exchange. “As I have learned from all the emails I received today, a lot of other folks who once embraced the Twitter community have already begin distancing themselves from it.”

Twitter as a Dark Place

In recent weeks, Lewis’ feed has been a virtual cage fight with some conservative bloggers, such as Howe, joking about him having sex with animals. Which part tipped Lewis over the edge of thinking Twitter was still a sane and reasonable place? In his column, he writes, “It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment it happened — but at some point, Twitter became a dark place. It’s a lot like the transformation of the 1960s. It started out being about free love, sharing ideas, and changing the world, but somehow we ended up being more about Altamont and Charles Manson… What was once an inspiring place that gave you a competitive advantage became a prison.”

While the precise moment or insult is unclear, likely all of it over the past year contributed to his declaration that his relationship with Twitter is on the outs.

No, he won’t be leaving. But he will be preserving his “inner artist” by 1) Utilize Twitter lists, following only those he finds “interesting or inspiring”  2) blocking those who want to mock or otherwise engage him in verbal warfare. “I’ll try to use whatever tools available that can empower me to discover new ideas, while also avoiding the negativity and bitterness and noise,” he told FBDC. “Blocking is what you do when you try to weed out the bad seeds, but remain yoked to Twitter. I’m advocating that people should step back a bit from Twitter, take breaks from it, etc.” 3) Generally refrain from conversation or debates.

Lewis says he has never enjoyed the fight. Read more

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