Daily Archives: July 17, 2009

8 reasons why journalists love Twitter…

 …much more than real people do

For some reason journalists have grabbed hold of Twitter as a starving man does a ham sandwich. But why? What is it about this slightly clunky, limited, and frankly difficult to negotiate web tool that we love so much?

Here are a few thoughts… 

  1. You can build up a seemingly huge following – as if you’ve got a big audience and are tweeting to thousands (Paul Bradshaw has 6733!). But the reality is relatively few are likely to be reading any one post. Just like newspapers! 

  2. It makes us feel all cutting edge –sending 140-character messages is just like SMS! Which the kids use! And using Twitpic turns it in to picture messaging! 

  3. It’s really quick and easy – spot a link while you’re web-surfing during a five-minute break and you can post it to Twitter in about 30 seconds. Do this two or three times an hour and you can look like a productive communications machine, while putting in less effort than going to make a cup of tea. Ooh – I just did one! 

  4. It requires almost no effort or thought – look at all those Tweets with a more or less pithy comment and a link to someone else’s hard work and research. Now that’s the journalistic ideal –leaving much more time to go to the bar. 

  5. The media loves it – which means if you Twitter on about the media, you be followed by loads of people in the media, who will Twitter about you Twittering about them. It’s the ultimate in networking! 

  6.  It’s the ultimate low-effort research tool – journalists these days seem to think research begins and ends with a Google search, which is why Twitter is a godsend for us. Use a search tool like TweetFeed and you can create your own Twitter stream of themed posts. Just pick your topic: Iranian election; Afghanistan; banking bailout, or – best of all – Twitter itself. It’s like instant research, but you don’t have to do any work! 

  7. It’s totally open – unlike, say, Facebook, where you have to actually ask to get in touch each time you want to stalk research people. Unless it’s the wife of “C”. Which was a bit weird. 
  8. It’s HUGE – excitingly leaked documents published by Techcrunch reveal that Twitter will have 1 billion users by 2013! That’s nearly everyone in the world [subs: pls chk]. In fact, no one will be doing anything else by then, so journalists have to get in on the ground floor!

In short, Twitter is like real journalism – but without the work. Now let me get out of this long-form blogging hell and Tweet something…

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Some more scoop on LivingScoop

LivingScoopA little while ago I posted about a strange invitation I received to join LivingScoop. This was, apparently, a video-sharing vehicle aimed specifically at journalists, citizen or otherwise:

A very good place for training, improving and to promote and value your creativity, skills and audaciousness whether you are a journalist (student, rookie or experienced), a reporter or a simple witness of what is happening in everyday life whatever the country you are in.

Desite having something of the flavour of a 419 scam, I duly signed up to see what would happen.

Nothing, it turned out, for a month or so.  

But now – ooh, look. Here’s a shiny new web site to play with. Doesn’t seem to be much in the way of content here, though – and what there is is not from the US or the UK. Which is kind of interesting.

But I love the mission statement:

One of our characteristics is to enjoy the daily immersion in the rustlings and silences of the world, and taste its fevers or inhale the discreet scent of its hashes.

Whatever they’re on, I’d like to try some. Jeez – there’s more:

We like the idea that the world is an experience: the Adventure of Mankind throughout the countries, of which Homer offered us a brilliant fresco in his epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey, or Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Well, I like that idea too – but, given this, it’s a shame that, so far, the material on offer is mainly test shots of computer monitors and random street scenes. 

Mind you, I also like the way the videos are linked to a global map, bringing back a bit of a sense of location against the anonymity of YouTube – though I wonder how well that will work when there are a lot more than eight videos on offer.

No confirmation email from our poetic webmasters as yet, but I’ll update as I try the site. Unless it really is a convoluted 419 scam…

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