I love this conversation. I think that what has been happening in the academic sphere on Twitter is that we (academics) are attempting to find the appropriate ways of communicating in a new medium–one that already has some pretty established norms for communication. As Tim discussed in his post, there is a long tradition of permissiveness on the web in terms of what is considered the norm for communication. I think knee-jerk snark reactions have developed in certain realms of the web because anonymity creates a sort of level playing field and a chance for anyone to rise in esteem based on their ability to say things that are humorous or otherwise catch people’s attention. Clearly this is quite different than the accepted means of discourse in academia. As academics are exploring how to use and benefit from the web and social media, I think they are also experimenting with their voice in the new media. I don’t know what the right or appropriate tone for academic discourse is in these new environments, but I am glad that there are people thoughtfully and respectfully exploring this question.