Twitter – join the debate

I’m not sure about twitter.

From what I’ve heard, I’m reckoning the new journalistic tool is creating a bit of a ‘love it or hate it’ marmite-esque debate throughout the industry.

As Jessica Elgot explained in her blog this week, Nick Curtis of the Evening Standard has openly admitted he doesn’t see the appeal of Twitter. In his own words, “I can’t find any celebrities, or any breaking news, just endless prattle from people with too much time and too little imagination.”

But there are others who swear by the new journalistic tool and see it as a refreshing improvement for the new age of journalism.

There are several reasons why I am not rushing to be one of them.

Let’s start with Facebook status updates. There are two types of people out there – those who update their status regularly and those who don’t. I myself fit into the non-status update category. Which I fear has subconsciously influenced my Twitter life – in that I never really tweet.

But despite my lack of Twitter involvement I am always interested to hear what others are saying and in that sense it is an effective communicative tool.

I would be interested to know how frequently Twitter’s 1.05 million users indeed ‘tweet’ – and how many of them are journalists.

I am currently more likely to log on to a dedicated news website to check what’s going on in the world rather than sift through various peoples tweets.

Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent for the BBC, showed us an example of Twitter doing its thing in our lecture last week. He was intending to show us just how efficiently Twitter broke the news about the Mumbai terror attacks but instead showed us how effectively the site relayed information twitters had heard from other news sources – such as the BBC.

Twitter of course cannot offer anything other than short bulletins. Pictures, real stories and other multimedia tools are a no go but as Jeff Jarvis infamously says – “what you can’t do best link to the rest.” For this, twitter and its pal tiny URL are ideal!

Rory Cellan-Jones also had a valid point when he said. “Crazy’s very quickly develop in the news,” can we trust what people on twitter are saying to us? They might appear to be working for a news institution but how do we actually know that is indeed who they are? In this case Twitter could become a dangerous tool of mis-communication.

Though it might be an effective way of issuing information quickly I don’t see it ever developing beyond that. Whether it will prove to be a sustainable news source and/or journalistic tool therefore remains to be seen.

While I might remain sceptical about twitters use as a journalistic tool I do agree its communicative ability is revolutionary. And I shall try and make a conscious effort to use it from now on – then I might have a more informed argument to join in the great Twitter debate.


One response to “Twitter – join the debate

  1. Something I find Twitter to be brilliant for is interesting people linking me to interesting stories (You could claim that can be done on Mento, but you can’t follow whoever you want on Mento), and also getting answers to questions. I had one guy contact me thats high up in WordPress answering a question I had asked on Twitter.

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