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

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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):

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/06/the-woman-who-gave-it-to-bill-keller-about-twitter-on-twitter/240858/