David Carr closes in on Wilt Chamberlain | Bleader

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

David Carr closes in on Wilt Chamberlain

Posted By on 02.15.12 at 09:09 AM

David Carr, the Wilt Chamberlain of tweeting
  • David Carr, the Wilt Chamberlain of tweeting
On Monday, I read David Carr’s weekly column in the New York Times—the paper, that is, not the website, as I remain the last man in America who pays to read the news, as opposed to reading it for free on the Internet.

I read David Carr's column every Monday. I consider it must reading for any journalist—a well researched, wittily written, and thoughtful examination of the state of our industry.

Which, as you can imagine, is pretty bleak, since, as I already pointed out, I’m the one keeping it afloat as the only man in America still paying for the product.

This week, Carr wrote about one of my favorite topics—Twitter.

In addition to being the last home subscriber in America, I’m pretty much the only man in America who doesn't like to tweet.

In fact, the only reason I even bother tweeting is because various editors are constantly (oh, how to phrase this?) gently encouraging me to do so.

As in—listen, dude, if you wanna eat, you’d better tweet!

Turns out I’m not alone. According to Carr, many editors are gently encouraging their writers to tweet more. It's all part of the industry strategy to slowly break in younger readers. Today, 140 characters. Tomorrow—whole paragraphs!!!

At the moment, however, the tweeting strategy’s sort of backfiring 'cause so many writers are tweeting stupid shit.

Like the stupid tweet Roland Martin—the pundit for CNN—tweeted about the David Beckham Super Bowl commercial.

But Carr's thoughts on Martin are not what stood out to me about this week's column.

Instead, the part that stopped me in my tracks came when Carr mentioned he has tweeted 15,000 tweets.

He mentioned it in passing, like it was no big deal. But I was like—wow! That’s a lot of tweets.

It reminded me of the time that Wilt Chamberlain claimed he’d made love to 20,000 women.

They didn't call him the Big Dipper for nothing.

Hold on—explanation time for our younger Twitter readers. Wilt Chamberlain was a basketball player from a long time ago. His nickname was the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper is an asterism of seven stars—you know, I think even Twitter readers know what the Big Dipper is.

Back to David Carr….

I had a hard time believing that one man could actually tweet 15,000 tweets, but then I did the math. Twitter was invented in 2006. So if Carr signed up on the very first day, he would have had to have tweeted about seven tweets a day to reach the 15,000 mark. So it’s possible.

If he keeps up this pace, he should pass Chamberlain in a year or two. Something to look forward to, David.

In contrast, I have tweeted 36 tweets—well, 37, after I dutifully link this post. At this rate, I probably won't approach Wilt Chamberlain until my next lifetime.

Hold on, my wife and kids have checked in to point out that if you count text messages as tweets—and they have their similarities—I may be much closer than I realize to the Big Dipper's magic number. Especially, after this Bulls season, where I routinely text such scintillating stuff to my Bulls pals as: Fuck the Heat!

I think you'll all agree—if journalists can come up with tweets half as good as that text, our future looks bright.

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