The Twittering of Ben Bernanke

Minute-by-minute, behind-the-scenes updates from the busy Federal Reserve chairman, live to your iPhone. Talk about your new, new media

By Andrew Leonard
Published March 13, 2008 9:10PM (EDT)

You know a new communications medium has come of age when someone employs it in the service of satire or parody. That day has now arrived for Twitter, the Web-based service that allows users to keep anyone who cares informed in real time about anything that one might be doing or feeling or thinking, no matter how trivial. While its specific limitation of no more than 140 characters for any given whereabouts message is more than enough for your average communique -- "in the shower"... "watching keith olberman" ... "choking on existential angst" -- employing such a limited canvas in the service of greater ambition requires a haiku-esque focus.

And so it is with the Twittering of Ben Bernanke, a series of sporadic updates -- or should I say, "tweets"-- keeping us abreast of what's going on in the frenetic, harried world of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Governors. (Thanks to reader Rafe Colburn for the alert.)

It's been great having Eliot Spitzer taking off some heat this week. If only a Governor could fall on his sword more regularly. 11:14 AM March 12, 2008

It's the question I get at parties: Will there be a surprise rate cut next week? Well, if I told you it wouldn't be a surprise, now would it 08:33 PM March 09, 2008

G-10 meetings Sunday/Monday in Basel. Never trust any group of economists that can't count: There are 11 countries in the G-10. 03:05 PM March 07, 2008

The Dow close today (12040.39) x100 felt like prime number to me. Spent good chunk of afternoon checking. Prime factors are 79 x 15,241. 02:11 PM March 06, 2008

my bloomberg terminal now blocks all articles with word "stagflation" in 'em. people think they can spook me -- they're wrong! 07:19 AM March 04, 2008

You'd think Ben would be just a little bit too busy right now to keep up with his Twitter updates, but I guess you don't get the job of running the United States economy if you can't multitask. Could be too, that he sees the writing on the wall, and he's angling for a plump book deal to ease his next career transition. "Twittering Through an Economic Meltdown: A Minute-By-Minute Account of How I Failed to Stop An Election-Year Recession."

If you feel like you've heard this before, well yes, there's more than a little similarity between Ben Bernanke's Twitter page and "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" perpetrated by "Fake Steve Jobs." But Fake Steve Jobs (aka Forbes editor Daniel Lyons) maintains a blog. That is so old media. This is Twitter, an attention-deficit-disorder medium for an attention-deficit-disordered age.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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