Here’s an interesting thing. On Saturday I, along with nearly 20 million others in Britain, was watching Britain’s Got Talent (both for work and pleasure). I also, predictably, was on Twitter, and had several trending and tracking tools – Twitscoop, Twitterfall, etc – open (because I’m a geek and I like tracking the conversation, m’kay).
Once all the acts had performed, it was obvious that Diversity were trending stronger than any other act over Twitter. “If,” I thought, “Twitter is anything to go by, Diversity will win.”
In the old days, a train delay on the morning commute would leave me sitting in the carriage like a lemon wondering whether or not to chance it on the buses. Today, when the train was halted at Clapham Junction due to a ‘major security alert’ my first thought was to get my BlackBerry out and leap on Twitter.
It’s perhaps understandable to be a little concerned and jumpy when you get announcements like that. Then you also start mentally working out how the hell you’re going to make it into work and which other routes were crowded.
… or why you should take Twitter lists with a pinch of salt.
There’s nothing a geek likes more than a good list and as Twitter is full of geeks, there’s nothing us geeks like more than a good list about Twitter. It’s pretty common to see lists of top Twitterers on certain topics or locations.
Of course the lists also can provide a useful guide to who’s who and who’s getting it right, especially where brands are concerned, especially as more and more companies realise it’s worth being on Twitter.
“Would the ‘truth’ surrounding Mr Tomlinson’s death have come to light had it not been sought out by journalists, and then published as the lead story in the Guardian? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.”
Then there’s the Damian McBride email scandal that may have broken in the blogosphere but still needed the traditional media to completely take it into the scandal it has now become. Would McBride have resigned if the accusations had just appeared on Guido Fawkes’ blog and nowhere else ?
Twitter has been featuring prominently in my life in the past few weeks, moreso than usual. I’ve been doing a series of presentations and training in the last month on social media and, unsurprisingly, the microblogging site has been a large part of that.
But one common theme that’s emerged as the assorted presentations have been put together is the danger of viewing Twitter as the be-all-end-all-complete-future-of-journalism-and-media.
Twitter is a great communication tool. There are some very cool tools being developed outside of the site, especially Twitterfall. And, because it’s the flavour of the month, absolutely everything appears to be revolving around it at the moment.
This is cool. It’s a picture taken by Marcus Warren from The Telegraph of the paper’s newsroom. That thingy on the left-hand screen of Twitterfall, an application that lets you track topics via a cascade in real time. This makes it invaluable for tracking breaking news stories via Twitter.
Now, regardless of whether you think Twitter is the second coming or view it as a place for trendy media types to hang out, the fact that the Telegraph has a Twitter app on a big screen in their newsroom suggests that they view it as a part of the newsgathering process (as it has been for a while now).
There’s a brand new sport in town. It involves shaping a Twitter-shaped stick and bashing the hell out of whatever purpose that stick’s shape is best for.
Sometimes the target of this is Twitter itself and involves beating the stick repeatedly on the ground. Sometimes the Twitter-shaped cudgel is the right shape for giving something else a good thumping. And occasionally the stick turns into a scattergun.
I imagine that if the rules of this sport were ever to be written, they’d probably be quite similar to Brockian Ultra Cricket.
“Chances are everybody else was busy,” said I. “And I’m cheap.”
It was an unexpectedly enjoyable surprise to find myself back at Cardiff University Students’ Union on a Saturday afternoon to speak to the section editors and writers of gair rhydd. It was also interesting from my own point of view, as I learned a few bits and pieces as well.
“Listen. I have blog. I use Twitter. I idly flick through lists of people I’d forgotten I ever knew on Facebook. I’ve even got a MySpace page, although I don’t like to talk about it. They are great ways of connecting people, and they’re very exciting when you start using them, because they allow virtual contact in ways that are analogous to – if not the same as – real life. You know, communicate with people. That old thing.
Twitter, it’s fair to say, has seen its profile soar in the UK media in the last couple of weeks, thanks, in no small part, to a growing band of celebrities who’ve joined the site.
Now, if you’re a celeb, you’re no one if you’re not on Twitter (ok, not quite. Don’t take this statement literally). Jamie Oliver swung by today. Phil Schofield has been Tweeting away from the set of This Morning . The Daily Mail has started republishing assorted celebrity Tweets as articles. And swathes of new users have started signing up to the site, prompted by the celebrity Twitterers and the media coverage.