Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I know how you feel, Michelle Obama

I know exactly how Michelle Obama feels.

The first lady electrified the crowd at the Democratic National Convention last night, concluding with a great line when it comes to this year's presidential sweepstakes:

"I'm with her."

It's a bit of history, what will happen tonight when Democrats make Hillary Clinton the first woman formally nominated to head a major party ticket for president.

Unfortunately, that's not the line I'm talking about.

Instead something else the first lady said that stuck in my head.

She wisely did not refer to Donald Trump by name - something I wish more political partisans did - but clearly was referring to him when she mentioned the social media reality we all now dwell in.

It's a Twitter world, and Donald Trump is adept at it.

I know all about Twitter. It seems like I'm on it 24 hours a day.

But the first lady cautioned that the issues facing the country "cannot be boiled down to 140 characters."

Tell me about it. I've been trying to convince people of that for years.

They tell me I'm a dinosaur. That the times - or is that the Times, this newspaper where I have toiled for more than three decades - has passed me by.

I am a prolific Tweeter. I find it very useful in delivering breaking news quickly.

But it is a dangerous thing as well. Too many people Tweet much too quickly - myself included - before all the information is available.

There's an old saying in this business. Speed kills. That's why we spend as much time as we do checking facts and getting them right before going public with information.

But it is a different world.

It's a Twitter world.

To many people, 140 characters is more than enough to detail the pressing issues we face.

I just don't happen to be one of them.

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