Treading the line

I have to confess that my knowledge of Jose Canseco consists of repeat viewings of The Surreal Life, Season 5, so I was primarily excited that the Worcester Tornadoes had signed someone who had repeatedly slept in Glen Campbell’s old house for money.

I had no idea that Canseco was a master of the short, fortune-cookie-like poetic form we know as Twitter.

For the past couple of weeks, the residents of Worcester have lived in a Twitter drought.

I haven’t written about the closing of @911Chief.

I haven’t been sure what to say.

On the one hand, the personal attacks were inappropriate in the extreme.

On the other hand, as was expressed on 508, there was something terribly refreshing about a public figure who posted his weekend reading and who — for a few short moments — answered questions about The Wire and clarified comments about gun ownership in the city.

Can a true public dialog consist of 140 characters at a time?


But it’s a start.

In a weird way, those 140 characters — the choices the character limit forces the writer to make — can give you an insight (correct or incorrect) into that person’s sense of humor, attitudes, and character.

It’s too bad Chief Gemme didn’t amass enough tweets for us to fully see his nuances and to start a longer dialog with those of us on Twitter.

I still believe that there’s a place in our city government for social media, and I think that we need to work towards having true dialogs not only in person but online.

The great Twitter accounts — the ones I like best — tread the fine line between totally sane and slightly off.

So — until we see a city official who’s able to tread that line, who is able to be funny and informative, and especially) engages with their constituents — there’s always Jose:

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