Twitter spokesperson Matt Graves called it a "milestone"; whether he's serious or not, ("dead serious," he later said) @discographies certainly carries a certain seriousness throughout today's interview in the Village Voice. "Twitter," the account holder says, "may be the first mass communications system that also functions as a meritocracy: it actively promotes good ideas and good content, regardless of where they come from."
The account and the interview are filled with the requisite surplus of snark, but something meaningful is happening here. Social networks are opening the world of international publishing to almost anyone, almost anywhere. It's an end-run around the old world of privilege, power and access. (Consumer technology and leisure not withstanding.)
Says the interviewee:
"Skeptics might think that the brevity of 140 characters would foster a kind of surface-y and impersonal interaction, but I think it does exactly the opposite: it forces you to communicate in a way that's more signal than noise. Those are two really powerful functions--spreading ideas and connecting people--embedded in one convenient place. And I think we're just beginning to discover what the combination of those things might yield. I'm not a starry-eyed futurist, really; I'm just someone using technology to find newer, better ways of expressing my ancient disdain for Alanis Morissette...."
On the album and discography in the era of the single song sold online:
"Since we're now at a point where it costs virtually nothing to acquire and store someone's life work the one truly valuable commodity that still surrounds music consumption is the expenditure of time necessary to hear all the stuff you've downloaded.
If our hypothetical 15 year old has just BitTorrented Neil Young's entire corpus of work onto her computer, she'll probably be a lot happier if the first album she plays isn't Old Ways, but who's going to tell her that? That's where I see @Discographies as having real utility above and beyond whatever entertainment value it may possess. If I can steer just one person away from This Note's For You and towards Tonight's The Night, it will all have been worthwhile."