Henry Jenkins, professeur du MIT que je suivais beaucoup pendant mes études de maîtrise (il est spécialiste de la culture populaire et des fandoms ou groupes d’adeptes d’oeuvres telles Star Trek, certains jeux vidéos, etc.), tient un blogue intitulé Confessions of an Aca-Fan (« Aca » pour Academic). Il répond sur son blogue à un de ses « suiveurs » (followers) sur Twitter parce que sa réponse déborde largement 140 caractères. Son interlocuteur lui demande pourquoi il utilise Twitter surtout comme un canal de diffusion plutôt que comme un espace de dialogue. Pour moi, l’intérêt de sa réponse, où il tente de cerner le phénomène Twitter, c’est qu’il explique surtout en quoi ce réseau lui sert comme intellectuel et universitaire. Des observations qui pourraient alimenter une réflexion sur Via, par exemple.
« The short answer is because the scale of communications, for me, is too great to allow for meaningful dialogue. A better answer would be because as an academic, I need a broadcast channel if I am going to get my ideas into broader circulation. I don’t have access to the airwaves or to a printed publication which might bring what I write to a much broader readership. I don’t have an advertising budget with which to put my ideas onto billboards. Twitter, as a platform, alters the scale of my communication by allowing me to expand my readership. »[…]
Now, that’s the delimma I face as an academic confronting this much larger scale community. The 4 thousand plus followers I have amassed is larger than the audiences I draw at any speaking gig — even large hall events at South by Southwest.
We can imagine the exchanges there on two levels: in some cases, the queries I get feel very much like the questions I would get during a Q & A period after a talk and it feels totally natural to respond to them through the main Twitter feed in front of the large audience. […] …The question is apt to be much more concise than any meaningful answer I could provide. So you can ask questions on Twitter that are impossible to answer on Twitter — present case a great illustration — and so you then have to use the “Here It Is” function [NDE: le fait de pouvoir référencer des sites Web] to direct people to another space for the response.
Other questions feel much more intimate and personal, more like the kinds that I get when people crowd around the table after the talk, and it feels weird to share such intimate exchanges in front of the larger population that reads my blog. And in some cases, I get very personal messages which don’t belong in a public arena at all, that function more like texting, and it is clear that the direct message function is much more useful. I am still trying to sort out the different levels of address here and how they might shape my relationship to my readers. »