This week, voice mail came in for castigation from Slate’s Farhad Manjoo. Everyone should enjoy this one. He succinctly summarized voice mail’s every shortcoming and held out hope for a better, saner world —
“If the voice-mail leavers in your life are anything like those in mine, there’s often no great reward for getting through your messages, either. ‘Guess you’re not there. Call me back.’ That message might have made sense in the days of home answering machines, when the main function of voice mail was to let someone know who you were and that you’d called—both things our phones now tell automatically. On the rare chance that you do get an important voice mail, your first move is to transfer the information to some more permanent medium—say, ink and paper. Unlike just about every other mode of electronic communication today, after all, voice mail can’t be searched.”
Voice mail may get no mourners, but people are crowding around the issue of ailing newspapers like the guys who always gathered around the film projector trying to get the movie to work.
Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post weighs in, arguing that newspapers have been killing themselves and, like a stricken patient ordering that he be bled, are intensifying the hemorrhaging by firing more journalists.
“The missed opportunities were endless. For the first time in half a century, newspapers could compete against television with real-time reporting, but didn’t. The Globe’s previous owners turned down a 1995 offer from the founder of Monster.com to put Globe classifieds online, before his site became a smash hit. Why did no establishment media company create a Craigslist, a Huffington Post, a Google News, a Twitter, or other sites that have altered the boundaries of news and information?”
Finally, Doonesbury gives us some Tweet with meat in today’s “Tweets of Roland Hedley,” which I read in my Washington Post. This is the content against which all Twitterers should be judged:
“Woke up in strange apartment, so running late. Thank God for iPhone GPS.”
“Bumped into an old stalker of mine at Borders…”