My 8-year old daughter has yet to develop that internal filter between the brain and the mouth, the one that should be preventing her from saying out loud anything that pops into her head.
And while some people say they think she's adorable and outspoken -- she's starting to cross the line into annoying and inappropriate. It's only a matter of time before her mouth starts getting her in serious trouble, which is why we've been spending so much time explaining to her why it's wise to always think BEFORE you speak.
Apparently, this is a lesson politicians, TV talking heads, and people with waaaay too much time on their hands have forgotten -- because they are "saying" what they are "thinking" all the time now, using Twitter.
This week we got to "hear" John McCain's thoughts (or "Tweets" if you use the lingo) about the earmarks in the Omnibus spending bill: "2 million 'for the promotion of astronomy' in Hawaii because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy.” We also get to learn about David Gregory's every move prior to Sunday's Meet the Press: "646 am. Just got to NBC. Almost showtime."
And these are just two examples of the hundreds and even thousands of talking heads that have turned Twitter from a niche techie past-time into a mainstream media must-do. Don't we hear from these people enough already?! TV-types, and those who seek out TV-types like politicians, seem to be particularly caught up in this narcissistic new form of "reporting."
But print journalists, like The WaPost's Howard Kurtz, are calling it like it is. "With that kind of pipeline, who needs television?" Kurtz gleefully asks.
The NYTimes TV Watch writer Alessandra Stanley was a little more verbose, and sarcastic. "Left alone in a cage with a mountain of cocaine, a lab rat will gorge itself to death. Caught up in a housing bubble, bankers will keep selling mortgage-backed securities — and amassing bonuses — until credit markets seize, companies collapse, and millions of investors lose their jobs and homes," Stanley writes. "And news anchors and television personalities who have their own shows, Web sites, blogs and pages on Facebook.com and MySpace.com will send Twitter messages until the last follower falls into a coma."
Of course, the Twitter community was incensed by this slap in the face....and couldn't stop tweeting about it. All this gave great joy to Jon Stewart, who let Samantha Bee make a twit of herself this week on The Daily Show.
The good news is that if you don't want to "listen" to these Twitterers, you don't have to...you need to be a Twitterer youself, or log onto a users Twitter page to read all these mostly-meaningless posts (although marketing managers have learned the power of Twitter, thanks to the so-called Motrin Moms). However, that sets up a Twit vs non-Twit world...more divisiveness we don't really need at this point.
There's no telling at this point if Twitter is a passing fad, or here to stay. But like my daughter and her unedited mouth - its just a matter of time before someone's Twittering gets them into hot water. Because although it may seem like an incredibly instant form of journalism, if there's no editing between brain and thumbs -- someone's bound to Tweet something they shouldn't have.
And that will be news.