Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A View From Germany

So, back in 2015 I was interviewed for ZDFinfo, which is a German public television outlet, for a documentary they were making about Twitter. It was aired as a special program entitled, Twitter: Revolution in 140 Zeichen? (Twitter: Revolution in 140 Characters?). The film was broadcast on March 21st, 2016, which was the 10th anniversary of the launch of Twitter.

So, yeah, ok, it's taken a long time to get around to it here on Blog Time Passing, but there were some technical issues that are not worth going into, and anyway, better late than never, right?

So, anyway, what I did was to edit together my four brief segments on the film to make one YouTube video that's about 2 1/2 minutes long. As most of what I have to say is inaudible because of the German translator's voiceover, I offer this to you as something of an amusement. You can hear some of my comments, though, and it's possible to get some sense of what's being said in German as well.

I should note that, while the documentary is somewhat celebratory, it does make room for critical views such as my own. One reason for the positive outlook of the film is that it was made before all the concern about Russian interference in elections was well known, and at a time when it looked like Trump did not have a chance to win the Republican nomination, let along the presidency (I knew otherwise, but that never came up). 

Much of the documentary looked back on Obama's use of Twitter, and did so in a favorable context. My criticisms echoed what I had written in Amazing Ourselves to Death, published back in 2014, and are about the negative effects of the medium, regardless of the political positions and ideologies of the users.

So, now, here's the video, for what it's worth:

I used the title, A View From Germany, for this post to echo a blog post I published back in 2015, A View From Japan. That featured a similar video, drawn from interviews for a Japanese public TV special on the history of broadcasting, on the occasion of their own 90th anniversary. Those excerpts are similar in the presence of a voiceover, while also providing a rare glimpse into the chaos of my office.