THE BLOG
01/13/2014 03:57 pm ET Updated Mar 15, 2014

Partners Parse Popularity of Twitter Powerhouse: Doesn't End Well For Them

More than one column today has taken on the odd, at best, tandem articles about private citizen Lisa Adams' cancer treatment and her Twitter feed from print power couple Bill and Emma Keller.

The best intra-medium summary is from Zeynep Tufekci at Medium. She strikes at the most tone deaf element of the week-long judge-fest aimed at Lisa, a popular Twitter participant -- the part where the Kellers are trying to parse Lisa's popularity on Twitter. Before her column was taken down by the Guardian, Mrs. Keller began not only asking people on Twitter to engage with her in the comments section of her article about Lisa instead of on Twitter, but she also began asking commenters whether they know Lisa from Twitter or from real life.

And that's where the tone deafness comes into play. Old media, at least those two participants in it, do not understand that Twitter is real life. I've worked at a newspaper, and have interviewed at them since the advent of social media. Some of the Twitter-related questions asked in one interview sounded like Unfrozen Caveman Editor, but maybe that crew has caught up by now. The medium isn't slowing down for anyone to catch up.

I first met Lisa when I was organizing a virtual book shower for a friend's newly adopted baby. Lisa asked to be part of the celebration and sent a beautiful book to New Orleans, so did many other writers around the country. I had met the baby's mother, @BrooksSigler, via Twitter and she now lives in New Orleans. We are friends in real life, but we already were. Eventually we worked at the same book shop and authors who came through the shop for a high five, a hug, a coffee were often those we already knew through, yep, Twitter. Who better to follow than the writers, as they do the best job in the space allotted? Good writers open their real lives to the world and can't pull off a personality that doesn't exist. Not in the long term, anyway. That may be what irks Mr. and Mrs. Keller. To take a swipe at a writer's Twitter volume but choose not to engage on that platform, for days now, even when the conversation is inspired by your columns is not only ill-advised, it's poor journalism.

I first joined Twitter when helping care for my parents while displaced after Katrina. For five years, I was 14 hours from home, my husband often on tour with his band. So I reached into the void and there they were -- writers from around the world all dealing with life and its glorious, horrible realities. They were a comforting voice when my mother died. They were encouraging when we finally moved home. I have met many of them and am looking forward to meeting the rest as they pass through or I head out on the road. That's what tribes do.

I've been thinking that the legendary columnist Dorothy Dix probably pissed off her share of city editors around the country. She was empathetic, historically so, inspiring songs and spinoffs. Why was she so damn loved and who could compete with that for clicks, if clicks had then been the currency? She was loved, like Lisa, because Dorothy was gloriously herself. She reached out. She answered. That's what Twitter has become a platform for, and anyone who bats at it from outside can keep swinging for the fences but they're not even in the ballpark.

We are all here at the game and Mr. and Mrs. Keller are more than welcome to join in when they can reach down into their most genuine selves and share that. Because what is happening to @AdamsLisa is not a Storify. It's not a backlash. It's a life. There are millions of them on Twitter, and we're all still swinging for the fences.

Welcome to the playoffs.