William Gibson on terrorism and Twitter

I've been teaching journalism students at City University this year. I'm grateful to one of my students, Tom Barfield, for pointing me to this interview with author William Gibson. I've read just two Gibson books - Neuromancer, which I read years ago and enjoyed very much, and Pattern Recognition, which I read this year and didn't particularly enjoy. Anyway, Gibson is a man with lots of interesting ideas and two in particular from this interview struck me. The first is a familiar one that is always worth repeating:

"Terrorism is a hopeful thing if you’re a freedom fighter. Terrorists and freedom fighters are two sides of the same coin. The freedom fighter lives in hope that he will overthrow the vast injustice of whoever. The people who live in the vast injustice can, if they choose, live in fear that the terrorist will come and do something bad to them. I don’t know. People are such suckers for the most part. The terrorists are smarter, in a way. The terrorists are at least playing a game that makes sense and has various win positions. If they can make you frightened, they’ve won. If they can make you deform your society in ways that will decrease everyone’s pleasure in life, they’ve won."

The second idea was one I hadn't really considered, about the essential difference between Twitter and Facebook:

"I was never interested in Facebook or MySpace because the environment seemed too top-down mediated. They feel like malls to me. But Twitter actually feels like the street. You can bump into anybody on Twitter."