Leonard Pitts Jr. Backtracks on Twitter Hate

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Sorry Leonard Pitts Jr., you can't have your cake and eat it too. In March, The Miami Herald's star columnist dashed off a "you damn kids, stay off my lawn"-style column in which he solemnly promised never to used Twitter, and claimed it's only useful for those who find "value in banality, cruelty and crudity."

What lies beyond the home page is often a quick exchange of information, ideas, and links -- both of the mundane and the important. The uses are as numerous as the users themselves.

The power of Twitter, of course, may not be immediately recognizable for a man who's giving a syndicated soapbox every week, but people do want to feel connected. Some may want to Tweet that their feet are cold, as Pitts points out the Ann Curry recently did, but most aim to share their thoughts.

Now, in the wake of Twitters important (if not maybe, a little overhyped) role in the Iranian protests Pitts has finally been forced to admit that maybe, just maybe he was wrong about this whole twitter thing.

Many of us -- your humble correspondent prominent among them -- have been less than impressed with the ubiquity of social-networking websites.... 

...In this judgment, we have been exactly right. And also exactly wrong. 

This is not to say that social-networking media have not been guilty of dumbing down the discourse. But it is to admit the obvious lesson of recent days: They can facilitate higher purposes as well. For this reality, the cause of human freedom can be grateful. 

After all, when angry Iranian voters took to the streets to protest a stolen presidential election last week and were clubbed and shot in retaliation, the events could easily have been a non-story in the rest of the world, given that Iran had placed heavy restrictions on foreign reporters. But what the theocratic regime had not counted on was that ordinary Iranians armed with camcorders, laptops and cellphones would document the unrest or that it would make its way to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other web places where people connect.

Pitts, (who also said he'd never blog, and ended up blogging) has finally come around to the allure of Twitter, after stumbling at first. 

Let this be a lesson who anyone who takes some "valiant" stand against new mediums of communication. Yes, for as long as we've had language we've all used it for mundane, vain, boring little reasons, but we're also quite crafty with our words sometimes and we've always found, no matter what the medium, Twitter included, to make those words count. 

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