Turn Off, Tune In, Log Out
While I think Twitter is quite ingenious--and I use it daily--I'd rather it didn't exist [June 15]. I like getting updates from people I admire, but I always think about them tweeting while they're supposed to be doing other things, and I wonder how the quality of their work will suffer because they're not entirely focused on it. Alyssa Green, DINWIDDIE, VA.
The overblown coverage of Twitter in the media has grown tiresome. Steven Johnson reports that Twitter had 17.1 million visitors internationally in April, but with the U.S. population at more than 300 million, the percentage of users that are American is pretty small. Furthermore, according to Nielsen, 60% of users drop out after a month. "Once just a fad"? Sounds like it's still a relatively small and concentrated fad. Members of the media never grasp that they are not representative of the country as a whole. Barb Neff, SANTA MONICA, CALIF.
Johnson noted that at the education conference he attended, people were typing and reading tweets. This means that they were not engaged in the discussion at the table and that this new communication tool was actually distracting from rather than enhancing the discussions at the forum. It can easily be argued that the ideas lost from the discussion at hand far outweighed the brief ones gained via Twitter. Aside from being a new venue to reinforce our sadly shortened attention spans, Twitter is a narcissist's dream of one-way communication. I, for one, will never care what Shaq is doing or thinking about anything. I don't care what anyone had for breakfast. I don't care what I had for breakfast. Tom Granger, WILMINGTON, DEL.
I predict that the twitterification of our society is going to lead to an exponential increase in early-onset Alzheimer's. We're increasing the rate of input to our brains and decreasing the time for processing information, and our brains are going to revolt. That, in turn, will lead to the next big industry: de-twitterification rooms where you can sit alone and unconnected, with nothing but a giant aquarium and a beanbag. Marty Decker, BEND, ORE.
Health Care and the Hill
In her article on health-care reform, Karen Tumulty states the health industry needs a "cultural and economic revolution" [June 15]. I cannot agree more. But in her discussion of the five big health-care dilemmas, she omitted two key financial advantages of a single-payer system: dramatic reduction in administrative costs and elimination of profit. A single-payer system would immediately make hundreds of billions of dollars available to purchase health care and give everyone access without increasing taxes or costs to employers. Hospitals, physicians and other providers could be paid more appropriately, and the benefits package could be expanded. Such a system would also reduce providers' costs by decreasing their administrative burden. Why is a single-payer system being ignored by Congress? David Heard, M.D., SEATTLE
Re "the 5 big health-care dilemmas": The 800-pound gorilla in the room is medical-malpractice lawsuits. If those were brought under control, health-care costs would drop dramatically. Physicians would have no reason to practice "lawsuit prevention." But it won't happen. Most people in our government are lawyers. Robert K. Wismer, MILLERSVILLE, PA.