(THREAD) The main problem with that @DanDrezner piece in the Post is that it's an international politics prof writing about the field in which I'm a professor—communications. No one in communications would *ever* compare the blogosphere to either Twitter or Substack. Here's why.
1/ Back in the mid-aughts, I was a Koufax Award-nominated political blogger (I don't know what Drezner was doing then; I first heard of him about a year ago). So I was into the blogosphere pretty deep, as I also ran a second high-traffic blog that was focused on the art world.
2/ The "blogosphere" was an outgrowth of MySpace and LiveJournal, inasmuch as in the heady early days of the internet people suddenly realized that they could engage in private diaristic writing—a very specific subgenre of writing—in the public square, and it was suddenly "okay."
3/ So the blogosphere as such had *nothing* to do with journalism, which needless to say was in a different state just 15 years ago (note: unlike Drezner, I also teach writing and journalism at the university level, so this thread is squarely "in my area," unlike his Post piece).
4/ The blogosphere was a manifestation of the transformation of the public-private binary at the dawn of the internet—and *also* connected to the "creative writing" explosion (what I did a PhD on); in the aughts, creative writing was the fastest-growing discipline *in the world*.
5/ The idea of journalism being in a state of collapse was not present around 2003—at least not ubiquitously. Drezner, the international politics professor way out over his skiis in a history-of-the-internet discourse, anachronistically projects the events of today 15 years back.
6/ Beyond the transformation of the public-private binary, there was also, of course, in the mid-aughts, a print-to-online exodus that was *extremely* heady for all involved. Just as literary magazines and newspapers were headed online, so were "private" and "local" writers.
7/ As any who teach writing at the university level know, the first analysis in the history of any writing system is distinguishing between "long-form" and "short-form" writing. Drezner blithely analogizing long-form (blog) and short-form (tweet) writing systems is embarrassing.
8/ A someone with a minor in sociology, I was interested in the aughts in sociological studies of the early internet that focused on community-building; they revealed people who'd written privately/locally on their hobbies suddenly heading online to build communities of interest.
9/ The phenomenon of blogs acting as a serious external adjunct to news outlets—i.e. not connected to those outlets—began many years into the lifespan of the "blogosphere," in the late aughts. Apparently Drezner hails, he now indicates, from that late period of the blogosphere.
10/ When I was running The Nashua Advocate in the mid-aughts, getting up to 25,000 views daily, there wasn't yet much thought of being a serious adjunct to major-media news consumption. The idea was citizen journalism could pursue things media wasn't really touching much at all.
11/ Substack emerged three years ago, and was popularized last year. What spurred its growth was the *departure* of major-media figures from major-media operations *specifically* to provide readers with an *alternative* to major media.

I still find that problematic in many ways.
12/ As a curatorial journalist, I know as well as anyone that major media *can't* be abandoned—it *can't* be allowed to fail. That's why curatorial journalists do *more* work than anyone to try to augment and expand the audience for major media. Drezner derides this as "linking."
13/ Oddly, what those still in the thrall of major media like Drezner *want* non-major media types to do is merely "link." It's part of the now-dead dream that today's citizen journalists will be mere fanboys and fangirls of their favorite journalists. But that dream *is* dead.
14/ In fact, curatorial journalism, because it's a metamodernistic mode, seeks to execute both ends of a paradox at once: (1) *augment* major-media reporting by using it as a building block; (2) expose its *weaknesses* by showing how it's insufficiently horizontally integrated.
15/ To the late postmodernists of major media, for whom paradoxes are dangerous and binary dialectics comforting, curatorial journalism is only an attack—so it must be destroyed. That it hugely amplifies their work they simply choose to ignore altogether as an inconvenient fact.
16/ So when PROOF moved from books Drezner didn't read and a podcast he never listened to and disquisitions on metamodernism and curatorial journalism he lacked the expertise to understand to *Substack*, it did so for a very—profoundly—different reason than, say, Glenn Greenwald.
17/ Greenwald wants to destroy major media for personal reasons. He is minimally concerned, as an ethical matter, with the ruin that would cause. So yes, Greenwald does want to use long-form writing on Substack to destroy long-form social media. PROOF has nothing to do with that.
18/ *The* watch-word in metamodernism—and I'm a proud metamodernist—is "reconstruction." You reconstruct that which has been near-terminally deconstructed. PROOF is part of a movement to reinvigorate major-media journalism by beneficially amplifying, exploiting and critiquing it.
19/ At every turn, major media will send people who aren't metamodernists, or curatorial journalists, or even experts in mass communications, to distort, reject, and mislead about projects like mine here and at PROOF. I'm now in year 6 of it and I'm effing exhausted by the fight.
20/ To call what I do "linking" is to call what a professor of international politics does "watching CNN." The problem is that—by definition—folks like Drezner will always have a bigger megaphone to treat major media's death-rattle as music than those actually trying to save it.
PS/ I've no beef with any who say Drezner was a big deal in political communications journal articles in the late 2000s, at the tail end of the blogosphere. The world is huge—it's no surprise I didn't come across him then just as it's no surprise he sees gain in attacking me now.

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More from @SethAbramson

18 Feb
This article puts me in a category with {rechecks article} President John Adams and President Joe Biden. No one else is in the category. I'm pretty sure this will never happen again.

I have thoughts on this topic, but am working on other things right now. vice.com/en/article/qjp…
What I'll say briefly is we really need *former* public defenders tweeting, as they're not bound in the ways current ones are; we need more tweeting on first principles, alongside tweeting about types of cases; we need tweeting from PDs who've worked with every type of community.
Also, it should go without saying—though incredibly, it *doesn't* in this article—that those of us who believe in equality under law should be cheering *every PD* getting the word out on this topic, without cynically tallying retweets or likes like it's a zero-sum game. It's not.
Read 4 tweets
17 Feb
(ESSAY) Charles Euchner has published a dozen books, has taught writing at Columbia and Yale, and has directed a think tank at Harvard. He now runs THE ELEMENTS OF WRITING. His just-published essay about my work is illuminating, and I hope you'll share it. theelementsofwriting.com/slot-man/
(PS) I agree with the few critiques Euchner offers of my work. I get myself in trouble by bringing jargon into popular media, though I do it because I think certain words—if they crystallize and become ubiquitous—can help us have conversations we presently don't know how to have.
(PS2) Euchner also notes, rightly, that independent journalists end up being their own PR reps; and the more they get attacked, the more they have to do it. I hate (more than I think any reader would guess) self-promotion and defensiveness. But attacks seem to come in near-daily.
Read 7 tweets
17 Feb
(PROOF) ICYMI: "Some Say the Criminal Justice System Will Save Us From Trump—But Can It?" sethabramson.substack.com/p/some-say-the…
(PS) Apropos of this essay from a few days ago, Maddow now reports that Georgia Republicans are trying to change Georgia's Constitution to make it impossible to indict him for election interference. They appear not to have the votes—but it underscores my point in the essay above.
(PS2) Maddow also reports that the DOJ under Joe Biden hasn't yet taken certain evenhanded actions that could help advance a civil lawsuit in Manhattan that could eventually transform into criminal charges. So here too we see the wheels of justice grinding to a halt to aid Trump.
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
(THREAD) On February 11, CJR published a piece on me by Lyz Lenz (@lyzl). It had been informed in writing months earlier—before Lenz began her work—that Lenz felt malice toward me. I requested a different interviewer. The request was ignored. This is the story of what came next. Image
1/ I tell this story not just because it's shocking, but for three other reasons. Columbia University wishes for me to itemize my complaints with the piece—having already declared it will make no changes to it—and I see no reason why I should do so privately rather than publicly.
2/ Second, what happened to me at the hands of CJR—defamation—has happened to many other independent journalists at the hands of other media outlets. Right now there is a needless war between Old Media and New Media, and Old Media is fighting dirty. It has to stop, and right now.
Read 57 tweets
15 Feb
Today I learned Lenz (@LyzL) approached CJR to write a hitpiece on me—now proven to have 25+ lies in it—a matter of *days* after getting fired by the CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE (I don't know if her infamous racist questioning of VP Harris played a role). Now we know what motivated her.
I learned a lot about myself and media and what I want for my future over the last week, though the work to get accountability for what CJR and Lenz did to try to rescue Lenz's career continues. Still, knowing I was maliciously lied about to distract from a firing helps me heal.
I had no idea the person who lied to me and about me for 2 months has a documented history of racism. Nor did I know she'd lost her job as a journalist and started a Substack at the moment she tried to destroy my life as a journalist and *my* Substack. Really, really scary stuff.
Read 14 tweets
14 Feb
🔹 "A fire-breather—we need his passion."—CNN
🔹 "Urgently important work."—Politico
🔹 "Very good at connecting dots."—Vanity Fair
🔹 "A deep thinker."—Rolling Stone
🔹 "He has come to prominence in the collective American consciousness."—Washington Post sethabramson.substack.com
🔹 "A cult-favorite author."—NY Magazine
🔹 "An underdog who became a hero."—Der Spiegel
🔹 "A serious researcher."—NY Journal of Books
🔹 "A virtuoso."—LA Review of Books
🔹 "Careful and exhaustive."—Kirkus
🔹 "Deserves something akin to a Medal of Honor."—Prof. Laurence Tribe
(MORE) When you write very publicly on controversial topics, much gets written about you. The same outlets whose employees laud you have other employees who attack you. So it goes. If you want the truth about me, it's *always* public, 24/7/365. Right here: sethabramson.net/bio
Read 5 tweets

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