I don’t consider myself a good tweeter. In fact, I’d consider myself just the opposite. The very thought of this article drummed up a knee-jerk reaction of, “Wait, no! There are no smart people on Twitter!”
Of course, I’m wrong. There are plenty of thoughtful and meaningful tweets out there–just look at the recent installments of this series by Fast Company‘s Anjali Mullany and Christina Chaey. But it takes some effort to sort through the fluff and find what really matters. Here are a few tweets from the past week that I feel rose above the rest and that offer some redeeming commentary or information. And while I don’t necessarily agree with all the tweets below, navigating the Twittersphere is a journey and we should be on it together.
For good reason, military intervention in Syria dominated headlines this week. Will we or won’t we? Following President’s Obama’s speech on September 10 in the midst of rising congressional opposition and an increasingly standoffish relationship with Russia, BBC’s Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar weighed in:
Obama's speech on #Syria can be summed up as "I've no idea what we're going to do, give me a couple of weeks and I'll get back to you"
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) September 11, 2013
Later, Danahar pointed out that as Western powers bicker over what to do, much of the confusion, and mess, of the situation comes from an often overlooked source:
Lots of people to blame for protracted mess in #Syria today. But the utter uselessness of the political arm of the opposition is big factor.
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) September 12, 2013
Yolande Knell, a Middle East correspondent for BBC reporting live from the field, showed us that yes, opinions everywhere are split:
Every Syrian I asked in Jordan this week thought US military intervention in Syria was overdue. Every Jordanian thought it was a bad idea.
— Yolande Knell (@YolandeKnell) September 13, 2013
Previously, the New Yorker‘s Philip Gourevitch brought up a challenge to the justifications of intervention:
If intolerance of Chemical Weapons is best case for striking Syria, how does that not send message that other atrocities are more tolerable?
— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) September 9, 2013
And then James Mena of the Institute of Modern Russia‘s Interpreter Magazine:
Know what didn't exist 2 years ago? JabhatAlNusra. Know what didn't exist 1 year ago? ISIS http://t.co/sMDhFEoyLr What will exist next year?
— James Miller (@Millermena) September 12, 2013
But if you step away for too long, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Tom Gara showed us, you might get your wires crossed. The other big news of the week, Apple’s unveiling of two iPhone models, took the Twittersphere in a different direction:
It comes in gold, and has a fingerprint scanner. RT @dandrezner: So I stepped away for ten minutes. Where are we now on a Syria resolution?
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) September 10, 2013
This week also marked the 12th aniversary of 9/11. Early the next morning, The New York Ballet released a beautiful tribute with a performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, performed on the rooftop of 4 World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
— New York City Ballet (@nycballet) September 12, 2013
Twitter was also graced with the fall of former Business Insider CTO Pax Dickinson, whose overt sexism, racism, and homophobia (or in his words, “satire“) was taken to task.
Tasneem Raja of Mother Jones called out Dickinson’s attempt to dismiss the allegations against him:
You guys, the other day, I thought I encountered ACTUAL GENUINE MISOGYNY but @paxdickinson says it was just lower-case misogyny so NBD.
— Tasneem Raja (@tasneemraja) September 9, 2013
Designer Matt Quintanilla brought in another point, perhaps suggesting that opinions in the world of technology aren’t as diverse as they should be:
If you are suddenly scared to speak your mind because of Pax Dickinson being forced to resign, you should maybe start questioning your mind.
— Matt Quintanilla (@redkeg) September 10, 2013
The New York City mayoral election got under way on Tuesday, with Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota securing party nominations. But the real winner emerged before the polls even closed: WNYC’s Data News Team, who provided beautiful, comprehensive, and up-to-the-minute results to the public.
— Matthew Schuerman (@mlschuer) September 11, 2013
In the thick heat of election night, New York Times reporter Thomas Kaplan made sure to stick to the important stuff:
— Thomas Kaplan (@thomaskaplan) September 11, 2013
Anthony Wiener’s abysmal results at the polls left Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere with only one question:
It's so obvious that Anthony Weiner's going to end up as a co-host of The View that ABC should just put out the press release already
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) September 11, 2013
And with that, we’ll end on a contemplative note. It’s been a long, tough week. Take it away, Yoko:
Each one of us are a planet orbiting in the way we do. Relax. Be an observer, and enjoy watching the orbit of people close to you.
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) September 11, 2013
Of course, I don’t have to say that this list isn’t complete. These are simply my picks; they represent the small fraction of tweets that show up on my timeline. If there’s a person or tweet you feel has been particularly smart this week, please share with us in the comments!
[Image: Flickr user Hunter Desportes]