Hearne: Are Facebook & Twitter the New Snail Mail?

shutterstock_81656434“Is there no semblance of permanence anymore?

There was a time when somebody invented something like the wheel, the lightbulb, telephone, radio, you could count upon them remaining relevant for decades, generations even.

No mas.

I remember in the early 1990s when Kansas City Star FYI editor Ellen Foley crowed about how great email was. What an amazing communications tool, Foley crowed. Let’s all start using it more and more and put an end to needless phone calls, voicemail messages, post it notes and personal encounters.

That was somewhat cutting edge thinking in 1993 when Foley ruled the features section roost. And from her lips to God’s ear the message hurtled and now who doesn’t live and die via email today?

I’ll tell you who, my twin 16 year-old daughters.

IMG_1743To them email is as outdated as writing an actual letter and sending it through the Post Office. Almost as rare as having actual telephone conversations with somebody other than their parents. Not quite as outmoded sending a Western Union telegram is to Baby Boomers, but look, at some point they’ll enter the workforce and probably rediscover the joys of email. Because that’s still the way we dinosaurs, 30-something and older communicate.

But what about the shelf life of trendy, so-called “social media” communication tools that the news media has raved about the past four or five years? Facebook and Twitter, to name two.

When I first glommed on to Facebook in 2008, it was a hip thing to do.

I remember some of the younger marketing folks at the Star raving about how clever Will Gregory‘s daily Facebook posts were. People were so excited to reveal to their newfound “friends” what they’d eaten for lunch and where. Or if they’d had “lunch beers.”

I have over 8,000 friends, but never went the “like” route.

And no insignificant details were too insignificant for people to share.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s as clever as Gregory at breathing life – or trying to anyway – into the mundane details of their otherwise forgettable daily lives. Do we really care who is shopping for new shoes today or who’s kid is home sick?


125pe1yThen came Twitter.

It was fast, immediate; it could be furious and it was mercifully short. Movie stars and athletes did it, and the media soaked it up like it totally mattered.

The Star went as far as to included several day-old Tweets in its FYI section. Kinda like serving up several day old bread. Hey, but why not? It’s not like blue haired newspaper readers would know the difference.

Now there are new social media world’s to conquer, but what about the shelf life of the ones many have just begun to master?

Here’s entertainment mensch Bob Lefsetz take on Twitter:

“It’s toast. Over. Done. History. Soon to be as behind the curve as Facebook, someday completely forgotten like Friendster.”

telegramThe somewhat obvious reason:

“You see there are too many people on the service. As a result, very few are heard. It’s happened over the past six months, tweeting is like a stone in a waterfall, or more accurately, pissing in the wind. In other words, if you tweet and nobody reads it, have you wasted your time?
“Twitter is becoming just like the rest of the world, a haven of winners and losers. Either you’re a star with an eight digit following and people are interested in what you have to say or…you’re ignored…And the public is not beholden to any of these services. Which is why the story of the Internet is a few services that stick and a ton that disappear…

“Yes, the stars of tomorrow will be thinkers. Who will build their followings, which will migrate from platform to platform. Just like you discarded your Palm for your BlackBerry for your iPhone…you’re gonna abandon platforms continuously, until it’s no longer about platforms but content…So tweet away. Until you realize no one’s reading.

“Then stop, read a book, become a three-dimensional person, have something to say.”

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13 Responses to Hearne: Are Facebook & Twitter the New Snail Mail?

  1. paulwilsonkc says:

    “Then stop, read a book, become a three-dimensional person, have something to say.”

    ……. but do it with a REAL book, not some already outdated Nook! No amount of convenience can replace the tactile experience, the scent and feel of.. a BOOK.

  2. admin says:

    Unless of course, it’s a real, live Cave Painting.

    Nothing can ever truly replace those babies!

  3. admin says:


    Clears that up. I was wondering why, myself

  4. the dude says:

    You dudes are so old and lame to quote one special needs harlinator.
    Smoke signals and mental telephathy are where the hipsters and mouthbreathers are at.
    Facespace and twatter, u guys r LIKE soooo lame.

  5. chuck says:

    Roland T. Marchand Jr. God bless you and thanks for your service to this country. I hope your health improved and you led a long productive life now replete with dozens of grandchildren.

    Semper Fi

  6. Mysterious J says:

    Been a while since you re-purposed a Lefsetz Letter.

    • admin says:

      Knew you’d be there playing your One trick Pony card.

      For what it’s worth I researched and wrote the entire column before I went back and read Lefsetz and ran a couple quotes.

      You got a complex or something on quoting somebody? he make a good foil from time to time when he’s not too busy navel gazing and writing inside baseball claptrap about the music industry. Over and over and over.

      Notice that I’ve never quoted him on any of that!

      • Mysterious J says:

        First of all, I don’t believe you had this all ready to go EXCEPT Lefsetz’s quotes, but oh well.

        Secondly, you are right…he is remarkably verbose and repetitive. I read about one out of three of his pieces completely, the others I scan or just trash after the first sentence or two. He is even more impressed with his insights that you, which is saying something!

  7. Ken says:

    I’m a old guy. What are the new platforms/items? private social networks? instagram?

  8. admin says:

    Don’t believe me, Mysetrious?

    Three quarters of the column is 100 percent original content. I used a tiny portion of Lefsetz quotes that fit. Don’t even remember the rest of what he blathered about. I usually don’t look much past his headline in the email it’s so predictable.

    What seems to be happening to Twitter is what already is well on its way in Facebook. Over-saturation. At some point people basically care more about who specifically is saying something than everything anyone is saying.

    His headline on his column was “Twitter,” so I undoubtedly saw that.

    And while we’re at it, you forgot to point out that I read about the negro leagues controversy in the Star before I teed off on it. The Hostess story was national news that I took several steps further. Paula Deen originated in the National Enquirer. And I caught a snippet recently on news feeds about Barnes & Noble’s earnings, then CEO resignation.

    • Mysterious J says:

      Wow, you sure dislike Lefsetz…hate to see how much you would “quote” him if you DID like him!

  9. Couldn’t agree more. I did Facebook and Twitter fairly heavily for three years or so, ending near the start of this year. Been there, done that. You gotta move on in this life.

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