Tagged: twitter

So tell me again, what exactly is Twitter?

A number of recent twitterstorms (#trafigura, #janmoir etc) have once again raised the issue, at least in the space that is occupied by the traditional media, of what is the role / point / whateverness of Twitter.  This Guardian article neatly sums up much of the argument to date.

Here is an explanation that no-one has yet proposed.  Twitter is the third wave of digital media – media that is defined not by a single  act of publication, but by multiple acts of observation.  It is a bit tricky to get your head around. Continue reading

#trafigura – catch it while you can

You may well know about the case last week of The Guardian versus oil trader Trafigura.  The Guardian has been running a campaign against Trafigura concerning dumping toxic waste in west Africa.  Trafigura has been very active in using legal means to prevent information about this spreading – including obtaining an injunction preventing The Guardian from reporting a question rasied on the issue in Parliament.  However, the information leaked / spread via social media, Twitter in particular, and the injunction was lifted.

My point is that this little piece of history  – i.e. the visibility of the #trafigura tag on which most of the action took place – will only last for a couple of weeks and then it will be gone.  This is because Twitter only keeps content in tags visible for this period.  I think this is a serious problem – see Twitter is making then destroying history.

A Twitter tag is McLuhan’s light bulb

I have been working on-and-off over the last few days on a BIG POST about stories and how the social media revolution is putting the story at the centre of not just communications planning, but organisational management as well.

As part of this I was re-visting the ideas of Marshall McLuhan – author of ‘Understanding Media’  and originator of  ‘medium is the message’ idea – a phrase many use, but much less understand I suspect.  Continue reading

Has Twitter encouraged journalism?

A journalism student in Australia (@jadelemoigne) contacted me last week (through good old fashioned email) to ask questions about Twitter and whether it was encouraging journalism.

I thought I would also blog the answers I gave, since this is a good question.

Dear Jade,

First off – its very difficult to separate Twitter from the rest of social media – it’s just one piece of the whole new information ecology that is transforming the way we access information. In general terms this shift is making traditional institutionalised media (and with it the journalists they employed) less relevant and creating processes that allow individuals to share with each other the information they need about the world.

Therefore – within my answers you could effectively substitute the term social media for Twitter. That said… Continue reading

Twitter is making and then destroying history

The elections in Iran have once again shown the power of social networks and Twitter in particular.  We can say that Twitter is making history.  The content on Twitter is changing the course of events.  However, most of that history lives within tags, such as #iranelection, and these tags will die or be lost in a few weeks time as our ability to retain them and search for them slips beyond the reach of Twitter Search or other search engines.  Twitter Search doesn’t give you access to a tag beyond two or three weeks.  This is a serious problem.

The whole issue of the digital record is one that is becoming incredibly important for the future of social media – and an area that, in my opinion, isn’t receiving enough attention.  If we can’t find a way to create and preserve a relevant digital record we will find ourselves destroying history as fast as we make it.  This record has to work according to the controlling dynamics of social media – availability and accessibility.

It may well be that the individual tweets that collectively are making history in Iran at the moment will still live somewhere in the digital record – in a place.  However, Twitter more so than any other social media tool is defined by space, not place.  The power of Twitter in the Iran issue and all others of historical influence, lies in tags and the creation of tag spaces.  These spaces live only in search or other forms of aggregation.  Lose the ability to search for it and aggregate it – and essentially we lose the information.

In the old days of traditional information, one printed copy of a document or a newpaper article held within a secure archive was enough.  There was a whole institutionalised system for ensuring that this information was held within the collective memory.  Social media doesn’t work like that.  It is defined by its ubiquity, by its ease of access, by its availability.  Restrict any of these things and you kill it.  Restriction of access has almost the same effect as actual removal or erradication of the information.

If ever there is one thing we should worry about – this is it.  Forget social media doing away with cultural gatekeepers, the media and other institutionalised sources of trust and all the other arguments that have been raised against it.  This issue losing or destroying history is what we should really be worried about.

Something rotten in the state of Twitter Search?

Something seems to have happened to Twitter Search in the last month that, to my mind, is incredibly important.  However, I haven’t seen any attention given to it within the broader social media converstaion – especially from the likes of @SteveRubel – an avid Twitter watcher and advocate of social search.  I know I have been tardy in keeping tabs on Twitter and my RSS feeds of late – but I can’t believe that I have missed this whole conversation.  Perhaps I am going mad, but surely I am not the only one who has spotted / is concerned about this.

What is it?  Continue reading

#LRNY – I am an ‘assclown’ and a stalker!

Just when I thought the dust had settled on this one, up popped a tweet to me from someone called Jess Elliot.  This said:

@RichardStacy Seriously Dick, you’re a one trick pony, can’t u come-up with anything else other than talking about #LRNY? You’re so boring.

The tone of this had the ring of some familiarity about it given previous tweets and blog comments from people that seemed to be interestingly close to the agency involved in the #LRNY campaign.

It was also a little at odds from comments such as this from Corrine Weisgerber, Assistant Professor of Communication at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, who has done an excellent presentation on usage of Twitter.  She said:

@RichardStacy Somehow I overlooked your tweet. Great post on #LRNY. I agree:  not authentic & executed with a traditional marketing mindset

So, I wondered who Jess Elliot might be Continue reading

The twitterings of a wit or the witterings of a twit – its all social media to me

I think it is time to celebrate the nonsense in social media.

Just recently there have been a few posts flying around where people have been moaning about mess and noise and pointless twittering. See this rather curmudgeonly rant from Jerry Bowles and this from OmMalik and this from Steve Hodson.

I think they are missing the point. Continue reading