Jürgen Habermas says he’s not on Twitter


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.

36 thoughts on “Jürgen Habermas says he’s not on Twitter”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


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