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.