Tag Archives: twitter

Taking the Twitter Times plunge

I’ve created my own personalized “Twitter Times” that encapsulates what some of my most active Twitter followers are reading and sharing.

As you can tell, my tastes run newsy, geeky and jocky, in no particular order. And with some local Atlanta news sprinkled all around.

When I hear fellow Twitterati say they use Twitter as their own personal news wire or news service, this is a good example of how it can be used not only to distribute interesting links.

It also makes it easier to catch up with what your followers have been interested in when you can’t get on the Tweet, as has been the case quite often for me lately.

Like Twitter lists — and here are mine — Twitter Times makes being on the Tweet a lot more manageable. And fun.

New York Times media reporter David Carr explains why Twitter will endure.

Follow me on Twitter here.


Some evolving redefinitions of journalism

Rounding up some items that have caught my attention recently on journalism, media and the Web. Here are a good half-dozen links, with a few addressing the fluid role of a journalist, and what it means to be doing the news, during this time of great change:

Why the mainstream media is dying:

“What really cracks me up is how often I still hear people say that bloggers are mere ‘aggregators’ and the ‘real journalism’ gets done at places like the Times. Because time after time, blogs are simply beating the shit out of the newspapers. They’re the ones who still dare to go for the throat, while their counterparts at big newspapers just keep reaching for the shrimp cocktail.”

Top 50 Journalism Blogs:

“If you are a seasoned journalist, you may have become disillusioned in how this field has changed over the past decade. With the changes wrought by online venues and phones that can report instant messages and photographs, many amateur and professional journalists alike are asking, ‘What is a journalist, and where is this field headed?’ ”

A Shield for Bloggers: Just who is a journalist today?:

“I think at the end of the day if you’re an online journalist working for a company or on your own and you on a regular basis report and distribute the news, you’ll be covered. I don’t know what the language will look like, but that’s the objective. There are modern-day pamphleteers here that you should be able to get covered.”

Don’t Save Journalism — Save Honest Communication:

“Journalism as a word is loaded because of the ministry it invokes. The profession that, since Watergate, has laid claim to it. That ministry is now a diaspora. Much like after the Gutenberg revolution the ministry lost its authority in interpreting the bible. Martin Luther showed us how. In reaction many journalists cling even tighter to that word. But the word needs to be redefined.

A Blog is a Better Social Media Hub Than Twitter:

“The most influential people on Twitter are either already celebrities, create their own content, or both. Who do you see most often retweeted? Major news outlets like CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Mashable. Guy Kawasaki. Robert Scoble. Of course there are many reasons these people are influential, but a very basic reason is that they are creating original content somewhere other than Twitter. They are most often using Twitter as a super-news-feed, and as a way to drive people back to their blog, web site, etc.”

The Internet and Well-being: Flogging a Dead Horse:

“For anywhere from 2-12 of the population, the Internet can produce compulsive behavior, ranging from constant online gaming to online shopping addiction. But for most, the paradox is that there really isn’t a paradox.  The Internet destroys time and space and allows us to remain connected with those we already share an offline relationship as well as to meet others who can present us with different life outlooks and perspectives.”

Twitter goes down, the world Tweets anyway

While waiting for my social media crack supply to be replenished today, I found out I’m hardly alone in my Twitter cravings. The problem, in a nutshell: It was possible to post and the search function worked, but timelines weren’t available. And quite a few people, myself included, were down to 0 followers and were following nobody.

A random sampling of the reaction taken during my lunch break (otherwise I did get a lot done during the outage!):

Twitter Is Frozen, which is many signs of the apocalypse


Wtf wat is dit met Twitter?


Trying to figure out twitter! Wondering if its better than facebook

Hello!!!!!!!! hello helloo helloo helloo! wow there is nobody but my own Twitter-Eco

I’m reasonably sure I just broke Twitter

Quelle horreur! Twitter is frozen!

Is it me or is twitter having a wobbly?

Meu twitter não está atualizando nada!!!

Is Twitter twatted or did everyone go very quiet?

O Twitter tá bizarro hoje.

Why is Twitter quiet? COULDN’T BE: people have lives, internet slow, lazy day. MUST BE: end of the world (except Utah) Welcome to my brain.

ทวิตเมื่อสองชั่วโมงที่แล้วเพิ่งโผล่มา Twitter ท้องผูก?

Irgendwie bekomme ich keine Updates mehr von den Menschen den ich folge. Ist Twitter mal wieder kaputt?

hey twitter, stop being douchey.

Twitter is hier stuk.

twitter ta bugado ?

what have i missed? why has miley deleted her twitter?

twitter is goin bi polar on us maaaan!!

@twitter, @twitter, @twitter, @twitter can ya hear me?

fuckk twitter. im going back to bed.

Twitter needs that thumbs up thing.

just said to a friend, I might actually have to talk to hubby tonight if twitter is down

Twitter “What were you doing 2 hours ago?”

is anybody out there or is twitter being an arse?

Has just discovered twitter, help?!!

pourquoi je ne reçois rien sur twitter ????

i feel me sooo damned alohoooone without my following peeps, dear mister @twitter

Twitter? Why are you dead today? I need amusement.

eating blueberry yogurt and emo’ing over a frozen twitter.

Twitter is frozen. Does this mean we have to go outside and actually socialize with, like, people?

Is Twitter still ackin’ all janky!?

Twitter Is Frozen – just like the rams offensive line for the past two years!!

is there a twitter strike??

Tired and a headache, but it doesn’t look like I’m leaving the office any time soon. Not that you care twitter, you’re not even listening!

Uhhhh Twitter Is Frozen because of stupid Miley!!! I really hate her so much!

Twitter is frozen because Kanye interrupted it.

Readings: The Web at 40, and how we’re still kids

I’ll admit it: I’m looking forward to a good long Labor Day respite, and so are you. So I’ll post some really good links here on a Thursday that I usually save for weekend reading. Will return on Tuesday after I get off the griddle for a few days (and I really mean it this time).

The first connection between two computers in September 1969 was a quiet event, eclipsed by such events as Woodstock. Now, some of my fellow aging Baby Boomers are trying to come to grips with the Web and all that it has wrought before we head for the rocking chairs.

What has become a major life-changing event for many of us in the media fields took place right after Richie Havens played his bongos on an upstate New York farm, Richard Nixon summoned the silent majority to speak up, a car careened off a bridge on Chappaquiddick and two men walked on the moon. There was a lot going on.

Various overview thoughts on the Web at early middle age here, here, and here, plus some goodies about the Web and digital life below that have many of us feeling like rebellious teenagers in the face of it all:

The Web Does Not Equal More Civic Engagement: “The impact of these new tools on the future of online political involvement depends in large part upon what happens as this younger cohort of ‘digital natives’ gets older. Are we witnessing a generational change or a life-cycle phenomenon that will change as these younger users age? Will the civic divide close, or will rapidly evolving technologies continue to leave behind those with lower levels of education and income?”

Bill would give President emergency control of Internet: “Rockefeller’s revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a ‘cybersecurity workforce plan’ from every federal agency, a ‘dashboard’ pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a ‘comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy’ in six months–even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.”

The erosion of privacy in the Internet era: “Do we want to live in a society where the government can—regardless of whether they use the power or not—have access to all of our communications? So that they can, if they feel the need, drill down and find us?”

Multitaskers beware: your divided attention comes at a price: “Heavy multitaskers tended to be more readily distracted by extraneous information than their more focused peers. That doesn’t mean that multitasking is a total loss, as there may be benefits that weren’t tested in this study, but it does make the case that heavy multitaskers might want to consider the limits of their habits.”

Why Studies About Multitasking Are Missing The Point: “I reject the notion that media is a stream of soulless ‘content’ that I am ‘consuming’. As a result, I read differently than than someone who simply wants to scan the headlines. An article may cause me to look something up, and I read that, and I need to let some inchoate idea at the back of my mind bubble for a day before taking any measurable action.”

Sentiment Analysis Takes the Pulse of the Internet: “Social media used to be this cute project for 25-year-old consultants. Now, top executives are recognizing it as an incredibly rich vein of market intelligence.”

‘Social Networking’; Give me a break: “Granted, there are people spending too much time on social media, just as others 10 years ago spent too much time surfing the Web, or using AIM. I’m old enough to remember people who spent the entire morning pouring over every word in a newspaper sports section, or checking their stocks. Those who are non-productive in the workplace are obvious, whether they are addicted to Twitter or online puzzles. Why should companies spoil it for everyone else?”

How Twitter saved my career . . . and my life: “Over the course of my unemployment, my Twitter account grew from roughly 2,000 followers to more than 5,000, and it was undoubtedly these impressive numbers and a demonstrated knowledge of the power of social media that played a role in my hiring and differentiated me from others with similar skills.”

A history of blogging, and why it matters: “I am now one of them, although, like half of registered bloggers, I rarely update. As such, I can attest it’s possible to accept blogging with neither cynicism nor Rosenberg’s unequivocal enthusiasm. Blogging is time-consuming no matter what your profession, and if you happen to be in the business of selling your intellectual and creative capital, giving it away free can be a mystifying and maddening expectation.”

Race to Be an Early Adopter Goes Mainstream: “There’s really no group out of the tech loop. America is becoming a digital nation. Technology adoption continues to roll along, picking up more and more mainstream consumers every year.”

Readings: On brawny work, memory and Google, social media misuse and serendipity-doo-dah

Lots of good long-form and think pieces about journalism, the media and the digital realm are served up here for your weekend reading. There’s plenty to choose from here, so enjoy:

But it feels like the first time: Slate’s Jack Shafer says the print-Web wars have nothing on the way the newspaper industry faced its first competitive threat, at a time when it was in much better health:

“Some print journalists and industry leaders claimed that radio content was inaccurate, skimpy, sensationalist, and trivial and that its practitioners were amateurs. When radio news was accurate, they asserted, it was either a bunch of headlines from a newspaper or a story directly pilfered from one. Does any of this sound familiar?”

AP’s copyright cluelessness: Erik Sherman at BNET lets the news collective have it over its threat to sue sites merely linking to its content. “Idiots” and “pinheads” are among his kinder epithets:

I’m not someone who buys into the whole ‘information wants to be free’ ethos. I make a living off my intellectual property of writing and have a lot of sympathy for print publications, where much of my work appears. However, you can’t run a business on how you wish the world operated. Instead, you must find a model that operates within reality. And that’s why the AP, and other media companies that long for the good old days, are doomed.”

Going down with the ship?: Ex-Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News reporter Michael Sokolove talks to Brian Tierney, publisher of both papers and who unapologetically defends the print-and-ink process:

“The Web efforts, they add something. I congratulate them. Let a thousand flowers bloom. But if somebody thinks in any short term, or even medium term, that the answers are those things, they’re kidding themselves. I know I sound like a heretic in that I won’t come out and say, ‘They’re the future.’ But they’re not. The brawny work is what we’re doing, and the brawny vehicle to carry it is the printed product.”

Murdoch’s big paywall gamble: Shane Richmond at The Daily Telegraph says the media mogul is serving up a big gift to his competitors, which include, er, The Daily Telegraph, although not in this particular sentence:

“This is a great opportunity for the Mirror, The Daily Star and, I suppose, producers of pictures of topless women, to hoover up those Sun readers who aren’t sure whether they want to pay.”

Drinking from a firehose: Danielle Maestretti at the Utne Reader is looking for a few good people who know how to help the masses navigate their way around the Web:

“All of this fretting over the death of reading might sound more genuine if it wasn’t usually articulated by and for people who’ve staked their lives and careers on traditional media models—authors, academics, journalists, publishers, and the like. More importantly, it’s often beside the point. The debate over how we read, perpetuated largely by media insiders, is starting to seem like little more than a distraction from the real problem: We have access to more information than ever, yet we do not know what to do with it. We are desperately information-illiterate.”

What was that again?: Librarian Emily Walshe isn’t exactly hand-wringing, and she isn’t the first to worry about how cognition is being altered because of the ease of the search engine:

“With so many of us slave to tin can memory, our human capacity for identification is jeopardized. Because when we commit things to mind, we become the authors of experience. When we choose to remember, we relate to our most fundamental resource and, in so doing, achieve a unique and perfect balance between representation and meaning.”

Commodify your Tweets: Before Twitter’s denial of service attack on Thursday, Jasmin Tragas did a Google search on a topic that’s been bugging her and came up with a question directed at novelist Rick Moody. It confirmed her suspicions about the exploitation of social media:

“Have we gotten to a point where the commodification of personality has become so overbearing that it’s impossible for us to separate self-promotion from expression?”

A very fine wine: Along those same lines, British freelancer David Lloyd takes a dim view of Web wine impresario Gary Vaynerchuk’s yammering about personal branding:

“The blogs I visit most aren’t written to be ‘monetised’. They’re written because their owners have something to say. Or they want to offer a service, or advice, or, maybe, they just want to write. And isn’t that where all the best sites originated anyway? Money might follow. It might not. Really, Gary, don’t sweat it.”

How many years of blogs? David Silversmith argues that given the 500-year head start by the printed word, it’s far too soon to determine the longevity of blogs. But he predicts they won’t be very egalitarian and could end up being dominated by blogging Darwinians. I think that’s already the case:

The world can’t support 184 million blogs. . . . The few, the mighty and the strong blogs will survive and thrive – but the age of blogging offering everybody a voice will fade away.”

(via Amy Vernon)

Serendipity-doo-dah: New York Times technology editor Damon Darlin ignited a firestorm over his assertion that the digital age isn’t good for information meandering:

Ah, the techies say, no worries. We have Facebook and Twitter, spewing a stream of suggestions about what to read, hear, see and do. . . . But that isn’t serendipity. It’s really group-think. Everything we need to know comes filtered and vetted. We are discovering what everyone else is learning, and usually from people we have selected because they share our tastes.”

Big Digerati Dog Steven Johnson got the logrolling going emphatically:

“Do these people actually use the Web?”

More pushback here and here. Even some of Darlin’s fans are scratching their heads. But he does have some defenders on this point.

And of course, there has to be some over-the-top snark for good measure.

I revel in all forms of serendipity, though I lean toward Darlin’s point that “group-think” could be a negative consequence of too much, or the wrong kind, of filtering. (What I compile here each Friday is a combination of serendipity and filtering by others, both in print and on the Web.)

During that testy interview with Der Spiegel last week, Chris Anderson admitted he really doesn’t do serendipity:

“I figure by the time something gets to me it’s been vetted by those I trust. So the stupid stuff that doesn’t matter is not going to get to me.”

Sports world needs to get realistic grip on Twitter

When I was blogging from an NFL team’s preseason training camp several years ago, another reporter stopped me as we walked to the practice fields:

“Gotta turn your cell phone off. It’s not allowed to be on out here.”

And placing it on silent or vibrate mode wasn’t good enough. My device had to be turned off completely. So I complied, sheepishly. I wasn’t there to write about formations, nickel packages or who was in the training room. The kinds of details that Pattonesque NFL coaches are convinced will ruin their entire seasons if divulged.

I wasn’t spying for Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Honest. I was there to write “scene” blog posts, talk to fans and spot the unusual (like a noted local sports personality watching the festivities in lime green Crocs).

I thought about that a lot yesterday when I read a Tweet from an NFL team’s Web site staffer who said he wasn’t allowed to post anything from an open practice session. Nothing at all. But that was just the start of what turned out to be a bizarre day for sports and Twitter.

A while later, word came down that San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie was fined $2,500 for a Tweet in which he complained about the food at training camp. Yes, loose Tweets sink ships. Their season is toast, and they haven’t played an exhibition game. Let’s bring in the Marines.

Here’s the explanation from Gen. Norv Turner, the Chargers coach:

“We’re trying to be open and give the fans a look at what we’re doing, but certainly we’re not going to go out of our way to give our opponents a competitive advantage or give them something that we feel should stay in our building. So that’s been our approach with any forms of media that we’re involved with.”

The Chargers aren’t alone in clamping down on Tweets from players and team officials, especially if they’re uncomplimentary about their employers. At least a dozen teams have banned Tweeting altogether during training camp. Even by journalists.

No wonder Steve Spurrier dubbed the professional ranks — where he spent two miserable seasons — the “No Fun League.” The league is working on a game-day Twitter policy to be lumped into an existing banishment of all forms of digital communications during games. Is the “No Twitter League” upon us?

Later in the day, the Bristol Behemoth, aka ESPN, issued a social media policy to employees with a tone that read like it was written in Pyongyang, especially the provision that Tweets from staff accounts be only about the company.

Naturally, some immediate reactions in the Web world were mockingingly incredulous and typically arid from the mainstream media.”Modules?” Those are space ships, not ways of linking social media postings. Why parrot this corporate-speak gobbledygook?

ESPN’s response to the criticism wasn’t as defensive as the initial memo, and I’m all for establishing standards for using social media and other forms of digital media. The sports cable giant’s clarification and rationale sounds reasonable enough. So why start out so bossy?

But was this really a bad day for Twitter? I don’t think so. Instead, this Twitter Tuesday revealed an insulated, “image-obsessed” sports culture led by paranoid coaches and executives who are accustomed to exerting ironclad control over their enterprises.

The sports world isn’t alone in trying to figure out how to best project itself in this social media environment. The corporate realm is struggling with this everywhere. But the initial reactions from the NFL and ESPN about Twitter illustrate entities that have been caught a little flat-footed, at the very least, by a technology that’s eluded their grasp.

Update: On Wednesday, Sports Business Daily conducted this Q and A with ESPN.com editor-in-chief Rob King:

“It’s an important opportunity to reiterate to folks that this technology is the equivalent of a live microphone. In that respect, it should be treated with some measure of awareness about how it represents those individuals who are forward-facing talent and how it represents how ESPN wants to connect with the audience. There’s a lot of education that goes along with it. Anyone who’s ever had a tweet re-tweeted to an audience knows that it can be presented in ways that you might never have understood or intended when you originally articulated those 140 characters.”

More tales of journalists and reinvention

Some of the latest links from the world of journalists-in-transition, and the state of the profession as it relates to where they are in their careers. I’m trying to keep this forward-thinking, if not always as hopeful as I’d like to feel about where we go from here:

“What would I do if I weren’t a reporter?:” Tracy Gordon Fox went from covering crime for the Hartford Courant to studying to become a nurse, and now is an emergency room volunteer at a Hartford hospital. “I’ve come to realize that the work habits I had developed as reporter — taking copious notes, staying focused, finishing what I started — had translated into good study habits. And my experience in dealing with people as an observer has been very helpful in my current role.”

Like daughter, like father: Former Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Sam Fulwood III writes about being on the job-hunting path with his daughter as she graduates from college. “So far, the reinvention thing hasn’t worked out for me. It’s not so easy for sober and serious reporters to Twitter and Facebook our way into the affections of folks Amanda’s age, let alone the editors and publishers now clamoring to win their attention.”

Tweeting and branding: Dan Baum’s recent flurry of Twitter posts about being fired from The New Yorker is the kind of stuff that makes old-school journalists like Fulwood cringe. How Baum is employing this tactic to recreate his career is something that “branding” experts are driving home constantly. “He’s significantly elevated his personal brand, and his exercise highlights the increasing need for journalists to take charge and market themselves.”

Baum’s using Twitter to promote his new book, and that’s fine. But perhaps my reluctance to follow his example is because I’m struggling to figure out how to use these tools to get my work distributed without being crass and clumsy. I’m not saying that Baum is, although detailing why someone lost a job and Tweeting on about a former employer isn’t entirely professional. Then again, Baum’s getting an awful lot of buzz in the journosphere as a result.

I will not blog for thee for free: When the Queen of the Future of Journalism (aka Arianna Huffington) approached blogger and writer Dan Lyons (aka the Fake Steve Jobs) about writing for her hot ‘n saucy Huffington Post, she naturally dipped into her Leona Helmsley persona: “As you know, we famously don’t pay our bloggers.” To which he replied, “As you know, I famously don’t work for nothing.”

From expendable to experimenters: A student journalism blog at the University of Maryland, remarking on recent comments by Sen. John Kerry about new professional paths for laid-off journalists, poses a very obvious question: “Does this mean that the very journalists who were pushed off by failing print media will be the ones who redefine what journalism is and how it’s delivered in the aftermath?”

The very obvious answer, my young successors, is yes, it does mean precisely that. Because as you’ll see in the examples below, the institutions that once nurtured this journalism have largely squandered that responsibility.

A newsroom of their own: Some former Rocky Mountain News journalists are forging ahead with their own online news site after investors bailed out of a subscription -based model that didn’t come close to its aims. The idea here is enticing, but funding it is another issue that seems to hold little tangible promise right now.

Keep those clicks coming back: One of the leaders of online news ventures, Joel Kramer of MinnPost.com, writes about learning how to read traffic numbers to keep readers returning for more. “Frankly, we’re not sure exactly why our reader loyalty has grown so rapidly. Nor are we sure yet how to keep that momentum, or how to capitalize on it to help us achieve our business goal: breaking even by 2012 on revenues from donations by individuals, advertising and sponsorship.”

Kramer is a cold-eyed realist who’s plunging into the actual work of post-newspaper journalism that new media sages wax rhapsodically about. But he understands the odds are long and the challenges are steep for his enterprise to make it. He’s worth reading and following more than any of the gurus because he’s putting theories about online news into practice.

The rebirth of the news business: The Economist is optimistic about the transformation from print to digital but has no new ideas on how online journalism can be properly funded to meet this demand. “In the absence of profitable alternatives, it may be that expensive, worthy journalism on subjects like the war in Iraq will increasingly be supported by charity.” The Editors Web Log offers a critique of this critique.

“It’s the public, stupid:” That’s one of Geneva Overholser’s observations to attendees at the Knight Digital Media Center’s News Entrepreneur Boot Camp. But here’s my favorite, one that I wish that journalism’s feuding doomsayers and utopians would heed but probably won’t: “Resist the urge to pronounce. This is not a duel. It should be a debate about the next steps for journalism in the public interest.”