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Feb 01 2010

Jürgen Habermas says he’s not on Twitter

Published by at 6:39 am. Tags: , ,

JuergenHabermas

Over the last several days there has been considerable hubbub around the notion that pioneering media theorist Jürgen Habermas might have signed up for Twitter as @JHabermas. This would be “important if true”, as Jay Rosen put it. Intrigued, I tracked him down through the University of Frankfurt. I succeeded in getting him on the phone at his home in Sternburg, and asked him if he was on Twitter. He said,

No, no, no. This is somebody else. This is a mis-use of my name.

He added that “my email address is not publicly available,” which suggests that perhaps he didn’t quite understand what I was getting at. In fact, the father of the public sphere doesn’t seem to understand the internet very well at all, judging by his few previous references to the topic.

I know many people will be disappointed, especially @bitchphd who tweeted “JURGEN HABERMAS is on twitter. definitive response to all future articles about how stupid twitter is.” Personally I believe that Twitter is significant even without Habermas, but it’s clear that this is an issue for the next generation of theorists to decide.

UPDATE: here is an audio recording of my question and his answer.

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34 responses so far

34 Responses to “Jürgen Habermas says he’s not on Twitter”

  1. [...] Update: Jürgen Habermas says he’s not on Twitter Over the last several days there has been considerable hubbub around the fact that pioneering media theorist Jürgen Habermas might have signed up for Twitter as @JHabermas. This would be “important if true”, as Jay Rosen put it. Intrigued, I tracked him down through the University of Frankfurt. I succeeded in getting him on the phone at his home in Sternburg, and asked him if he was on Twitter. He said, [...]

  2. [...] Totally snookered. Via Kieran Healy, the disappointing news that the Habermas account is fake. Yet more evidence that the internet is less than an ideal speech [...]

  3. kosmaron 01 Feb 2010 at 10:34 am

    thanks for investigating and sharing. what a great sound snip!

  4. Tweetle Dum « Cruel Mistresson 01 Feb 2010 at 10:35 am

    [...] Cruel Mistress Being Human on a Harsh Planet « Hitler was a Vegetarian Tweetle Dum February 1, 2010 Count me as bummed. Too cool, I thought last week, that Jürgen Habermas is on Twitter. I don’t know anything about twitter, but if “der grosse Jot” is on Twitter, it may well be worth signing up for an account. Too bad it’s been revealed as a big hoax. [...]

  5. [...] Veröffentlicht in Alltagsbeschwerden, Alltagsfreuden von momorulez am Februar 1, 2010 Schade. Wäre so schön gewesen. Der Account ist auch wieder weg. Dabei war das gar nicht so schlecht, was da zirkulierte [...]

  6. Habermas tweets! « Pages and Lightson 01 Feb 2010 at 12:07 pm

    [...] And apparently not. [...]

  7. [...] Journalist Jonathan Stray löste das Rätsel, er fragte ihn einfach. In seinem Blog schildert Stray, wie Habermas reagierte: No, no, no. This is somebody else. This is a mis-use of my [...]

  8. Falk Eberton 01 Feb 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for checking!

  9. Kristine Loweon 01 Feb 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Makes sense. I tried to get an interview with Habermas a few years back. I got through to his home via the same route as you but was also left with the understanding that he didn’t understand the internet very well.

  10. Bitchphdon 01 Feb 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I *am* bummed. But of course I still think Twitter is awesome.

    And Habermas *should* have a Twitter account. Someone needs to set the man up.

  11. lewison 01 Feb 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Just published: “Does Habermas Understand the Internet?” by R. Stuart Geiger… http://gnovisjournal.org/journal/does-habermas-understand-internet-algorithmic-construction-blogopublic-sphere

  12. Jurgen Habermas en Twitteron 01 Feb 2010 at 6:45 pm

    [...] de @jHabermas subieron a 3.200 en menos de 24 horas). ACTUALIZACIÓN: Se ha confirmado que la cuenta de Habermas en twitter era falsa. El periodista Jonathan Stray realizó una llamada a Frankfurt y habló con el filósofo, quien le [...]

  13. [...] According to @JohnathanStray, the Habermas account was a ruse. I’ll bet Rheingold is rolling his [...]

  14. [...] Jonathan Stray discovered the truth today through this phone call, in which Habermas expresses a hilarious amount [...]

  15. Matt Robertson 02 Feb 2010 at 12:33 am

    do we care who this really was? might cross over from most-woebegone-student-of-Habermas-ever to some kind of wierd hero status

  16. [...] es war ein falscher Habermas. Mit wie viel investigativen Aufwand das ermittelt wurde kann man hier nachlesen und nachhören. Zumindest scheint die Stimme am anderen Ende der Leitung der echte [...]

  17. John Mansfieldon 02 Feb 2010 at 4:50 am

    There are two lessons from this: 1st, some folks, and some journalists belong to this category, prefer fake banality if in the internet, so Internet is God and humans are its servants, so quite interesting for Habermas to write some critics, some day, maybe. 2nd, be careful: the old joke is still true: the best thing about the net when you’re a dog is that nobody knows you’re a dog. Neither journalists do, as they get so puzzled as a non speaking babe.

  18. Nick Goldon 02 Feb 2010 at 5:32 am

    What a jolly jape. Even old Rusbridger fell for it!

  19. dot tilde doton 02 Feb 2010 at 6:09 am

    twitter might be significant without habermas, but is habermas significant without twitter? what’s the significance of people believing he was tweeting?

    so many questions. who could have known.

    .~.

  20. [...] hecho ninguna cuenta en Twitter. El padre de la teora de la esfera pblica confirmaba al blogger Jonathan Stray que « es otra [...]

  21. [...] Jürgen Habermas twittrar inte, tyvärr. ”No, no, no. This is somebody else. This is a mis-use of my [...]

  22. [...] descubrió cuando el bloggero Jonathan Stray se contactó vía telefónica con Habermas, quien aseguró que [...]

  23. [...] the trail from that link and its comments, and you’ll even find someone who (claims to have) tracked down Habermas on the phone: “He added that ‘my email address is not publicly available,’ which suggests that [...]

  24. Bookninja » Blog Archive » Newsletson 03 Feb 2010 at 7:29 am

    [...] Twitterverse: Jurgen Habermas is NOT on Twitter… as you [...]

  25. [...] the original Flash source file (.fla) he created to build the thing. (Jonathan did this in between calls to Jürgen Habermas.) This’ll only be of interest to Flash jockeys and aspiring Flash jockeys, but if you do [...]

  26. Alexon 04 Feb 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Fantastic! Please upload the sound snippet to soundcloud.com – I want to share it!

  27. [...] Stray,”Jürgen Habermas not on Twitter,” Information, Culture, and Belief Self-explanatory.  Stray also has smart things to say [...]

  28. moon 09 Feb 2010 at 8:14 pm

    :-) This was great — thanks, Journalist Stray for your quest!

  29. [...] descubrió cuando el bloggero Jonathan Stray se contactó vía telefónica con Habermas, quien aseguró que [...]

  30. [...] It’s the nearest thing that I can think of to a ‘Public Sphere‘ on the internet, though – a free space where citizens can interact with other citizens they might never have met in real life. Interestingly, to me it seems like Habermas’ dream – so it’s somewhat disappointing that he isn’t on Twitter himself. [...]

  31. [...] before being deleted (that’s a Google cache link, and will stop working). But the form of his denial to a blogger – ‘No, no, no. This is somebody else. This is a mis-use of my name’ – would make a [...]

  32. About Meutya Hafid. « Grezz Blogon 16 Mar 2011 at 9:25 am

    [...]   Jonathan Stray » Jürgen Habermas says he’s not on Twitter [...]

  33. [...] power that a single original report can have, as when I made a few phone calls to discover that Jurgen Habermas is not on Twitter, or worked with AP colleagues to get the first confirmation from network operators that Egypt had [...]

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