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Malcolm Gladwell does not care if you tweet; Gene Weingarten hates Facebook

There's never enough time to catch up on all the reading on a Sunday, but here are a few stories you shouldn't miss.

First, The Post's favorite curmudgeon, Gene Weingarten, wades into Facebook, the "ocean of banalities shared among persons with lives so empty they echo" and does not like what he finds there.

Over at the New Yorker, meanwhile, Malcolm Gladwell does not like Twitter very much. He scoffs at reports that social media sites have much impact in revolutions and activism. "Are people who log on to their Facebook page really the best hope for us all?" he asks.

Gladwell must have missed the Guardian's article saying that Twitter and blogs are filling in the gaps of the drug war story in Mexico, as traditional news media pulls back reporting on the ongoing clashes. "The result is a catalog of horror absent even from the national press, which still covers the violence from the relative safety of its headquarters in the capital."

Leaving aside the social media debate, the New York Times is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its opinion page with essays and illustrations. The essays are a fascinating walk back through history, but the art is what stands out. Check out the 10-minute roundup video of drawings that have appeared on the opinion page and Maira Kalman's illustrated opinion blog, "And the Pursuit of Happiness."

In inane viral video, Intel employees decided to jump off their building and land on giant pillows. (Spoiler alert: They make it.)

By Melissa Bell  | September 27, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Next: Alien ambassador appointed by United Nations?


I made the mistake of 'liking' the Weingartens' comic strip on Facebook so now it announces that there is a new strip EVERY SINGLE DAY. So methinks Gene doth protest too much.

And remember that we are talking about a guy with a pile of soft serve excrement as his Twitter avatar, so consider the source.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 27, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Gene has an excellent point that most of what is on Facebook is pretty dull. But the same can be said for most things in life. Including life. The overhead is pretty atrocious. But, every once and a while, there are moments that make everything else worthwhile.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 27, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Gladwell has some very good points, but he doesn't go deeply enough. For example, in citing Granovetter’s pioneering work on the “strength of weak ties,” he doesn’t delve into more recent work, such as Damon Centola’s experiments. And he doesn’t address the power of “naturally occurring” social networks to foster behavioral change. I blogged more about this yesterday at -- Larry Miller, CEO of MedNetworks, @millerlarry

Posted by: millerlarry | September 30, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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