I follow several very popular people on Twitter... well popular in my world. I like economists. I was quite thrilled recently when I got to have a conversation with @asymmetricinfo. I've also previously got to chat (via Twitter) with @EconTalker, @willwilkinson, @russnelson and @tylercowen.
But I'm also a Packer fan. So getting to tweet with @jasonjwilde, @mitchnelles, @TomSilverstein, and @TomOatesWSJ was pretty thrilling, too. At the same time, I follow @AaronRodgers12, @GregJennings, @ClayMatthews52 and @NickBarnett - Packers players. It's really quite cool to be able to read what they're thinking and occasionally get to chat with them.
Prior to about 2005 or so, the ability of popular, or powerful, people to communicate with almost everyone was limited by expensive resources. Specifically, newspapers, radio & television. A couple of things came about because those resources were scarce:
- Someone behind the scenes had to ensure that the best, most clear possible message got out. Hence editors.
- It was too difficult to have a conversation. Responses and clarifications were expensive. Hence you spent a lot of time avoiding conversation with the media unless and until you were certain you knew what you were going to say.
It will likely take a while for all of us in society to get used to how to understand tweets. If you're popular you're likely to end up crossing what was a line using previous technology. Take photogate for example. But this line is less useful given today's technology. If you want more context of what was meant, just keep reading the twitter stream. More will come. And if you don't see it, you can ask. You don't have to rely on a reporter to ask the question on your behalf. You can ask yourself. You won't always get an answer, but you can still ask. And if enough people ask, you'll probably get that answer.
My quick thought is this: twitter really changes communication between the popular and the not. We have less need for 3rd party intermediaries like TV, radio & newspapers.
But this is only a guess.