David Haglund:

By and large, though, the whole little game, briefly diverting and occasionally amusing as it was, essentially proved Franzen’s point. While he had attempted to make an argument—albeit an off-the-cuff and ham-fisted one—about the negative aspects of Twitter, the partisans of the micro-blogging platform reduced that argument to a meaningless punchline.

…I have to side with those who believe that emotions are indeed complex enough to merit 600-page novels, and cannot be fully conveyed in an emoticon. I don’t think emoticons and 600-page novels are mutually exclusive; it appears that the universe is capacious enough to include both these phenomena, and I don’t intend to choose sides. But if people start making teams, I know which one I would rather be on.

For Erin Faulk, a 29-year-old legal assistant and voracious reader in Los Angeles, the era of e-readers has had one major effect: she has accumulated many more books that she categorizes as “DNFs” — Did Not Finish. But she is also buying more books, she said, and she thinks that all the interruptions have, in a way, made her a more discerning reader.

“With so many distractions, my taste in books has really leveled up,” Ms. Faulk said. “Recently, I gravitate to books that make me forget I have a world of entertainment at my fingertips. If the book’s not good enough to do that, I guess my time is better spent.”

Exactly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Y’know, what this book really needs is an RSS feed or some kitten videos.” Authors, attend: if you want to remain relevant, your writing needs to compete with YouTube and Angry Birds.

As for Twitter, well, what do you expect. The kind of people who hate being reminded that the world doesn’t actually revolve around their toy phones are the same ones who think supercilious irony and clever put-downs make one a public intellectual.

Feh. If you need me, I’ll be busy lugging all my books over to the monastery.

…adding, Roxane Gay complains that Franzen simply doesn’t understand what Twitter is for, then proceeds from the apparent assumption that Twitter primarily consists of writers promoting their work, which strikes me as dubious, to put it mildly.

Allow me to me suggest that it is perfectly consistent to acknowledge the utility of a medium that enables fast, convenient communication while disparaging its outsized influence on public dialogue and the limitations it places on nuanced expression. Let me further add that jokes about old geezers and their lawns are about as fresh and witty as jokes about people living in their parents’ basements, and anyone caught using either of them from now on should be forced to take a one-month time-out from the Internet.