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Thanks. Your Dad obviously has his hands full playing the stoic role. Dad's are like that. Good on him.

And, yes, please, do share the "venturesome consumption." Looking forward to it.


This is awesome. Ashton will be jealous. I just want to say I followed you before it was hip.

I handle magazine distribution for northwest North Carolina and your issue will be on newsstands June 11th.

Word Mercenary

Very cool!

Leave it to dad to bring you back down to Earth (I guess it's their job, hehehe).


Nicely done - your tweet on the cover of TIME is exactly 140 characters. Way to get your message across on the cover.

William Mougayar

That was a seminal piece on Twitter. I felt as if you wanted to write more about the innovation part.
It gave me some juice to compare where we are today with Twitter vs. the Internet in 1995 http://bit.ly/info/UTZxR So many of the same questions are being asked, but different answers, of course.


good to see something written which describes how people are using Twitter professionally as part of maintaining their Personal Knowledge Management Systems - especially in the GFC when so many of us aren't able to get to training or conferences. Social media such as slideshare, blogs and Wikis are also proving helpful


As an author I joined Twitter to network but I haven't quite figured it out or found it any more useful than the other social networks. Could just be me, though.
Congratulations on the Time cover. Your dad's response sounds like something I would say...and it would be made in jest as I'm sure it's how your dad meant it. ;-)

Jon Rawlinson

Followed your tweets here.

Excellent article, very well thought out.

Pretty cool to have your tweet on time magazine!


Maxine Appleby

What a wonderful time we are living in, so glad to be right smack in the middle of it call with the rest of us humans.

Congratulations on the Time cover!

Jennifer Trubenbach

Dear Steven:

Wonderful article...and so true!

Our non profit, all volunteer surgical foundation, www.operationofhope.org just received $50K from actor Hugh Jackman when we won his TWITTER contest. This helped pay off part of the hospital costs of a young boy, named Beloved from Zimbabwe, Africa. I brought Beloved to the US for complex surgery after a land-mine accident blew up his face.

When promised funds fell through from a celebrity 72 hours before surgery, we took out a second mortgage on our home to pay the hospital bill.

I had never twittered before and in 12 hours won $50K! It has changed my life!

Beloved, is doing really well and is still in the US learning to read and write!



Andy Proehl

Steven, I saw the article online but didn't realize it was the COVER article. Impressive! Congratulations. --Andy


I thought this was an extraordinarily clever way to present the story and congratulations on the cover. However, my only criticism is that I'm really tired of hearing about Twitter from other sources. Everyone who cares about Twitter, is already on Twitter and chances are have already discovered the story.

I'm not saying this particular story is bad or even the wrong thing to do.

But I'm just fed up with TV, radio, EVERYWHERE telling me to follow them on twitter, do this on twitter, hey this happened on twitter.

I already know! I'm on Twitter!

For instance, the only reason I'm posting here right now, is because it was linked from guess who, TWITTER.

So in conclusion, mainstream media needs to stop talking about Twitter because anybody that isn't already using it probaly doesn't want too or has no idea how.

But I look forward to reading this story.

Keep up the good work!


Matthew B. Christian

A few days ago New York Magazine ran an article about Conan O'Brien allegedly slamming Twitter. The writer lauded O'Brien's late night competitor Jimmy Fallon for constantly raving about Twitter and other Web 2.0 drivel. I posted this comment, and it seems quite appropriate for your Time Magazine article as well:

Why is it automatically considered GOOD to embrace Internet culture, new media, geeky gadgets, and the like? In my workplace, we've gone from dropping by a coworker's cube to calling on the phone, to emailing them, to blogging and hoping the intended recipient actually reads it, to using IM, to TXTing, and now we have to use Twitter. Each step in that devolution was forced by coworkers who whined about having to actually interact with their colleagues face to face. I'm certain that in less than a year Twitter will debut Twitter Lite (or T'LITE to the digerati) through which agoraphobic Web 3.0 crybabies can set up an avatar to deflect all human contact for them.

Also, the TIME Magazine cover really nailed the essence of the Web 2.0 phenomenon-- Indirect advertising of an over-hyped fashion phone, self-promotion, a grandiose summary barely supported by the content, and an imperative statement to BUY. Welcome to the crux of the infotainment age, Mr. Johnson.

Donald Taylor

Once Iran is over the hump of its post-election tumult, you need to do a follow-up to this piece to bring it up to date with recent developments. I'm reading your tweets, but would live to hear a more extended treatment of your thoughts on twitter and Iran.

TJ Beitelman

I always find your books/ideas thought-provoking -- ditto this on Twitter. But I gotta cop to a deep-seated allegiance to Mr. Christian's (above) sentiment.

You write: "We don't think it at all moronic to start a phone call with a friend by asking how her day is going. Twitter gives you the same information without your even having to ask. The social warmth of all those stray details shouldn't be taken lightly."

The key is the "without your even having to ask" part. As a creature of the interwebs, I know all too well how easy it is to traipse along in a social milieu without ever getting to the warmth you suggest is really there. I think you DO have to ask for warmth. Probably face-to-face.

As somebody who's already bad at that (and call me cynical, but I think a LOT of us are already bad at that), I wonder how we're going to get better at it -- MORE connected, WARMER, SHINIER, HAPPIER people holding hands, etc -- via Twitter feeds.

With that said, I've got one and hope to use it to start my very own media empire. Go figure with the hypocrisy, I guess...

Keep writing and being Steven Johnson. I'll keep reading and being thoughtfully provoked.

Ana Pessoa

Dear Steven,

I work for the website Terra, the largest in Latin America, present in 18 countries and with offices in 7 countries, including US. On 14TH July, Terra will announce in Brazil its numbers, and show new products. Best of all, we will discussa subject that is doing very controversial in Brazil: “catch up.” The featured gave Internet users have access to Disney series after the cable television premiere, free of charge for seven days.
What do you think about comming here?

Cyndi farmer

i loved your books your an inspiration to all of us writers out there. Ive been trying to write so many times but with kids its hard to find time, now im going work harder on my book. thanks so much for that. It means alote to me. I know this is not exactly kosher but every author I have like I try to get a signed autographed picture.So far no one has ever sent me one. Would you please send me one? I want to hand it next to my computer for inspiration while I write. When I become a famous author I will sign one of my books for you. LOL< at least I wasn't gready asking for an autographed book and a photo autograugh, lol well im sure your a busy man, keep up the good work, IM really proud of you, you have a very bright future ahead of you, dear. My addy is 7302 N. corn crib loop douglasville, ga 30134 thanks so much, cyndi farmer

danny bloom

Danny BLoom in Taiwan, i just read the cover story today here in the local libary. Great story, but i feel you missed one important thing and I hope you will email me here and ask me about this: it is this: we do not read on screens, we "screen." In fact, you are "screening" this comment right now, you are NOT reading it. Ask me what the distinction is and i will dish. This very important distinction has not been reported anywhere yet, except on my website, and I hope you will find time in future to report this. See "screening versus reading online" in any google search window. My blog link is below with my name. Contact me. This is IMPortANT!

danny bloom

And see the TSAI CUN Manifesto at http://zippy1300.blogspot.com

-- danny

danny bloom

The Tsai Lun (蔡伦) Manifesto:

On Reading on Paper Surfaces VS Reading On Screens

Webposted here by Danny Bloom under strict instructions of Mr Tsai Lun (蔡伦) of China, to wit:

WHEREAS reading on paper surfaces involves tangibility and materiality and entails deep diving into the text and settling down, in addition to coming away with some critical thinking and analysis to boot....

AND WHEREAS "reading" on a screen online or on an offline E-reader or cellphone or iPhone or Palm Pilot or Pre is less invovling...

THEREFORE, be it resolved...


amd "reading" on screens as SCREENING, to coin a neologism...

And we should all make a clear distinction betweem reading and screening by calling the former READING and the latter SCREENING

So be it, this year of ancient CHINA, circa 105 A.D.

-- (蔡伦)

Emily Vitale

RE: "Me On Twitter On TIME On Twitter"

Mr Johnson, how OLD are you? Why do writers have to gloat like this? ME ME ME, look at me, I am on TIME magazine. It is very infantile and juvevile and me me me of you, Steve. Of course, we know your pic is there. You don't have to gloat. It makes you look like a jerk. You are not important. The story was important, not you. Course, this is your blog, you can say whatever you want and gloat as much as you want, but it makes you look like a narcissistic fool. ME ME ME. Is that what the culture has come down to? Dad, Mom, look at me, I am on the cover of TIME! Bee-Ess, Mr Johnson. Grow UP!

Emily Vitale

and sir, while you were mightily gloating, you forget to type in a word here:

"at the same time" - u left out TIME; see what gloating does to the brain cells!

''I tried to use the piece both to explain some of the new attributes of Twitter that have become visible in the past half-year (particularly revolving around search), and at the same TIME use Twitter as a case study in how innovation increasingly happens today...'

green cleaning seattle

I loved the type ad commenting system very clean and very efficient.

Love to read more from you on the topic above

Cheap Computers Canada

Twittering around will get you fast access and an entrance in the wide social circle.


How to be famous on twitter...any one have any ideas?

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My Photo
I'm a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of nine books, host of one television series, and co-founder of three web sites. We split our time between Brooklyn, NY and Marin County, CA. Personal correspondence should go to sbeej68 at gmail dot com. If you're interested in having me speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)

My Books

  • Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

    Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
    A history of innovation accompanied by a 6-part TV series on PBS and the BBC, this was the first of my books to crack the top 5 on the NY Times bestseller list. Appropriately for a book that celebrates diverse networks, this was the most collaborative of any of my books. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • Steven Johnson: Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age

    Steven Johnson: Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age
    My first book-length attempt to organize my writings about emergence and networks into something resembling a political philosophy, which I called Peer Progressivism. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

    Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
    An exploration of environments that lead to breakthrough innovation, in science, technology, business, and the arts. I conceived it as the closing book in a trilogy on innovative thinking, after Ghost Map and Invention. But in a way, it completes an investigation that runs through all the books, and laid the groundwork for How We Got To Now. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : The Invention of Air

    The Invention of Air
    The story of the British radical chemist Joseph Priestley, who ended up having a Zelig-like role in the American Revolution. My version of a founding fathers book, and a reminder that most of the Enlightenment was driven by open source ideals. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : The Ghost Map

    The Ghost Map
    The story of a terrifying outbreak of cholera in 1854 London 1854 that ended up changing the world. An idea book wrapped around a page-turner. I like to think of it as a sequel to Emergence if Emergence had been a disease thriller. You can see a trailer for the book here. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter

    Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
    The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture -- and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

    Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life
    My first best-seller, and the only book I've written in which I appear as a recurring character, subjecting myself to a battery of humiliating brain scans. The last chapter on Freud and the neuroscientific model of the mind is one of my personal favorites. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

    Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
    The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Most of my books sold more copies than this one, but Emergence has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

    Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
    My first. The book I wrote instead of finishing my dissertation, predicting the growing cultural significance of interface and information design. Still relevant, I think. But I haven't read it in a while, so who knows what's in there! (Available from IndieBound here.)

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