The Woman Who Gave It to Bill Keller About Twitter—on Twitter

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Zeynep Tufekci (@techsoc) is a University of North Carolina sociologist of technology who occasionally writes for this website. Bill Keller (@nytkeller) is the outgoing executive editor of the New York Times. About an hour ago on Twitter, after Tufekci said research didn't support Keller's view that social media hurt real-world sociality, Keller shot back, "Um, did you plan on linking to the research?" At which point, Tufekci barraged him with a host of links showing that, at the very least, social media has no negative impact on people's social lives, and it might even make them better.

Keller challenged the wrong person to do some linking because our experience of Tufekci leads me to believe that she knows the academic research about social media backwards and forwards. But, if you think Twitter makes people act stupidly, you don't expect that a challenge will be met by citation after citation.

So far, Keller has not responded to Tufekci's research links. My favorite comment was doctoral student and blogger Aaron Bady, who wrote of the exchange, "I feel like I just saw pull Marshall McLuhan out from behind a movie poster."

Update! Keller responded quite graciously, I would say. " Thanks. I'll take a look when get a little time," he tweeted.

Here's the exchange (and for those who can't see the embed, here's the Storify link):

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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