Not Twitterpated huh?

Over breakfast I came across an editorial in Fort Collins Now, called “Not twitterpated over Twitterwhere Rebecca Boyle poked holes in the hype about Twitter, specifically about Twitter becoming an outlet for information. The leading quote: “Why would you need to read a Jurassic-era newspaper article about politics when you can follow the politicians themselves, who will tell you everything you need to know in 140 characters or less?”

I would suggest reading the article to get the context of my response.

What I find funny about the article is that Boyle insists that “newspapers provide context and meaning, both essential to our democracy”, yet in her own article she hypocritically takes the tweets of politicians out of context. By doing that, it’s easy to think that all these guys post about is what they’re having for lunch and who they’re with.  Part of exercising democracy is having transparency in your public figures. While traditional media has enjoyed being that gatekeeper, the pervasiveness of Twitter now gives constituents the opportunity to get a glimpse of their representatives, see what they’re working on (answering that question, “What do you even do in these sessions?”), but also understanding that our elected officials are people too – with families, friends and activities they love.

“Politicos can rip their opponents and highlight the work they’re doing without relying on the media to spread those messages.”

So instead of trying to decipher the media’s interpretation (complete with bias and possible agenda) of an official’s words, I can get the information directly from the source, where at least I have a sense of their own agenda.

Boyle brought up the report of the low Twitter site retention rate (estimated 40%), a stat offered by Nielsen, which doesn’t take into account that much of Twitter’s interaction is not based on the web site (the same way that MySpace and Facebook requires).  People access it through various tools and clients, as well as texting on their cell phone.  That said, the retention rate is a stat measured when growth happens.  The last time I checked, newspapers haven’t enjoyed any recent growth.

The most asinine quote of the article has to be this one:

“And many people who have been on the Twitter bandwagon promptly hopped off last week in the midst of the swine flu outbreak, when the site helped fuel a panic most public health officials have said is unwarranted.”

Unwarranted panic, as opposed to the tempered coverage offered by traditional media?  Give me a break! Every news program had this as their leading story every night! This was on the front page of every newspaper all week long!  This is the pot calling the kettle black!  If media was able to offer that context – which they supposedly have an abundance of – then why wasn’t this offered with all of the Swine Flu coverage?

Here’s the bottom line on Twitter: Twitter is what you make of it.  Some people will go and simply look to consume tweets from their favorite celebrity, but there are a degree of Twitter users that follow people who share their same interests and commonalities.  I follow people who live in my community, share my passions (drumming, technology, sports), and offer great insight in the things that I care about.  I don’t stop with simply consuming, I also offer my own insight.  Twitter is meant to facilitate conversation, and that’s probably the toughest thing for newspaper “dinosaurs” to grasp: a two-way media street.  Instead of relying on someone to ask questions for me, I can ask the questions of my figures myself.

And yes, you can also use Twitter to find out that LeVar Buron likes the new Star Trek movie.

Star Trek is back!

Note: This post may consider some spoilers

Yesterday I managed to make some time to see the new Star Trek movie, and was completely blown away!  Over the last decade, Star Trek has endured black eye after black eye between the last two movies, as well as the way Enterprise sputtered into cancelation. When I heard the news of the movie, I was just grateful that we’d have some incarnation of Star Trek.  Essentially the bar was set very low, but Abrams not only met the bar, but raised it another mile!  With one movie Abrams accomplished something the makers of the other 10 movies could not: make Star Trek appeal to mainstream without sacrificing the principles that Trek fans hold so dear.

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Abrams accomplished this by rebooting the series, but in a way that bridged the connections between old Trek and this new Trek.  Unlike movies like Batman Begins and The Hulk which pretended those movies never existed, Abrams found a way to break the precious Star Trek continuity and paved the way to create new stories for our favorite characters.  Is this an alternate reality, or is the Trek timeline permanently altered?  This is an issue that I’ll let people geekier than I debate, but I am glad that Star Trek has cleared the canvas for future movies.

The decision to reboot an franchise as established as Trek was probably not one taken lightly, but was made respectfully.  This was made in the various ways that homage was paid to the staples of Star Trek.  I love how a guy got red-shirted, and how they incorporated the old sound effects from the original TV show.  There were also little pieces of nostalgia that were fed to fans (like Khan’s bug that wraps around cerebral cortex)

I thought the most difficult hurdle for the actors was going to be accepting the new actors as their beloved characters.  Initially I had difficulty in the adjustment, but half-way through the movie something clicked and they all started to work.  Chris Pine suddenly exhibited the Kirk-like characteristics, and the lines he spoke brought back memories of Kirk.  With the exception of Spock (which I’ll get to in one moment), all of the cast members did a wonderful job playing into the role of their characters.  When I watched Superman Returns, I thought that Brandon Routh didn’t play Superman as much as he played Christopher Reeve playing Superman.  In Star Trek, the actors went the opposite route: rather than try to portray the original actors, they portrayed the characters. Pine didn’t try to be William Shatner, he tried to be Captain Kirk.  I also thought McCoy was spot-on.  Spock was the exception however, and it’s no fault of Zachary Quinto’s acting ability – it has everything to do with his popularity.  Quinto’s role as Sylar in Heroes, a cult sci-fi series, simply makes it that much more difficult to disassociate the actor from the character.  Maybe Quinto should publish a book called I Am Not Sylar to help things along (a bad attempt at Trekie humor).  Still, we can warm up to Spock.

I’m already looking for a good excuse to go back and see Star Trek again, but the truth is that you don’t need a good reason to see the movie. Just go see it! However you feel about Star Trek, you’ll enjoy it!

Celebrating my Blogiversary

The 9th is almost over, but I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a post on my Blogiversary.  On this day 4 years ago I decided to start a Xanga blog and made my inaugural posting.  This blog started on May 9, 2005 and over the years it’s definitely undergone many changes.  I look back at some of my first posts, when my intention was to make this a sort of reflective public diary.  Over time the content has changed, and if I were to describe my blog, I would stick back to the title: Romey’s Ramblings.  I would say that my blog has become a series of quasi-column postings, peppered in interesting things that I find, as well as personal updates.  I know I don’t post with the frequency that I had 4 years ago, perhaps that may be due to Twitter or simply being busy – but  still try to make a point to post when I can.

This blog has undergone many changes: moving from Xanga to Movable Type, then finally to WordPress. I’ve been fortunate enough to bring my posts with me and have kept them relatively in-tact.  I think back to my life four years ago, and where I’ve been. Since then I’ve moved twice (but still live in Fort Collins), met my soon-to-be wife Bethany, have put a ton of hours into work, school and my various interests.  I’ve been blessed over the years, and very fortunate to be where I am in my life.

Thank you to you for reading my blog, for taking an interest in my incoherent thoughts.  I’m not sure what the platform will be, but here’s to many more years of ramblings.

Nuggets, Playoffs and the NBA

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(Photo by Jack Dempsey from AP)

Football is definitely my sport of passion, but with it being 3 months away I’ve decided to shift my attention to Denver’s hottest team right now.  The Nuggets look red hot right now, and I’m rooting for a swift finish with the Mavs so that they can rest up for the next series (and here’s hoping that I haven’t jinxed anything).

We’ve been catching a lot of the playoffs on TV.  At some point in the evening, the NBA is on, and it’s kept us up way too late for our bed time.  Despite being entertained and amused by the playoffs, I can’t help but be put off by the arrogance of the NBA by scheduling them so poorly.  The fact that the Nuggets played on Tuesday night and won’t play again until Saturday is asinine.  Are the teams traveling by covered wagon to get to the next game?  Come on NBA, they could play a whole other game during that time.  I also realize the NBA wants to play their games in prime-time, but it’s really too bad that the East Coast is missing out on these great games because they start at 11pm their time.  I think the NBA would be wise to take a page from MLB’s playbook and start their games earlier in the afternoon, or even alternate the times a bit.

It’s crazy that the playoffs last as long as they do, and really doesn’t offer much incentive for casual fans to follow the regular season.  They should shorten the first round to a best of 5 series and play the games without messing up the days.

Enough with the rambling though, here’s to the Nuggets!

Latest Greenfoot Gig Posters

May is becoming a busy month for Greenfoot, and with it gives me the opportunity to create more Gig Posters.  I wanted to share you my latest attempts and would welcome any of your thoughts.

The first one was for our show last Monday at Chipper’s Lanes.  Since this was a bowling alley, I decided to heavily incorporate bowling into the theme.

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This next poster is for the DNote, I had a little bit of a hard time coming up with a theme for this one, so basically I mixed a bunch of different elements and hope they didn’t clash too much.

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We have a show at the Little Bear coming up later this month, so I’ll be making a poster for that one too.

We’re also creating some wedding stuff as well, but I may be a little more selective about putting that on – want to make some things a surprise.