Tag Archives: twitter

Think before you tweet

If the above screenshot doesn’t tell the story already, let me fill you in: Ashton Kutcher ignorantly sent out the above tweet regarding the recent firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired for not properly reporting child sexual abuse.

Kutcher immediately felt the backlash of tweeting without knowing the whole story. He looked like a fool at best, an insensitive jerk at worst. He has since issued apologies via Twitter and blog post, and he has turned over his Twitter account to his production company, Katalyst.

Although this change in feed management will undoubtedly improve the number of gaffes posted, I can’t help but think it’s a mistake. Kutcher gained more than 8 million followers because it was clear that he was the one tweeting. Fans like to feel a direct connection to the celebrities they admire, and Twitter has been one of the few ways they could do that.

Followers of Kutcher’s feed can now look forward to generic tweets promoting his work instead of getting insight into his random thoughts and daily life. And now when @aplusk retweets or replies to you? It’s not actually the guy you want, it’s just someone masquerading as him.

Celebrities have recovered from worse slip-ups, and I think Kutcher will get over this hurdle before the world bats an eye. However, I think it would be in his best interest to stay in touch with fans himself rather than by proxy. A genuine apology and some self-restraint would probably be enough for people to forgive and forget. It might be hard to have it both ways—the benefits of the personal interaction without the potential harm to reputation—but just think before you tweet and messes like this won’t happen in the first place.


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Tweet regurgitation: An intervention

I get it—managing accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and everything else can be overwhelming. It can seem nearly impossible to update all of these feeds on the regular and still accomplish anything in real life.

Twitter on Facebook

Still, I just have to say it: Quit being so lazy! I’m sick and tired of seeing the same updates, word for word, across multiple platforms.

Social media management tools are fabulous for centralizing the social media experience. I use HootSuite to keep track of my various Twitter feeds, update LinkedIn and shorten URLs.

But just because you have the ability to update all of your platforms in one place doesn’t mean you should.

If you want people to follow and add you on every platform, each one needs to offer something different. I want to support a good company or a friend in as many ways as possible, but I don’t need to be bored to death by reading the same regurgitated tweet at every turn. And honestly, if you’re managing your social media effectively, you’ll play each one up for its unique strengths.

There is bound to be a little redundancy because friends and followers won’t always overlap and sometimes you have something that just needs to be shared with them all. That’s OK! If you’re sharing a link, though, consider the audience of each platform and tweak the message for each one, even if the link is the same.

So please, for your sake and mine, keep it fresh.

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A few days ago I read about the uprising in Egypt on Tumblr.

Bits and pieces of information littered my dashboard and I became engrossed. Social media helped organize a revolution, so any former thoughts of Twitter as a useless dumping ground for opinions disappeared.

When I discovered the Internet was shut down in Egypt, it was difficult to absorb. The place where anyone can have a platform to speak was cut off in an attempt to silence the protests. This is the first time in my lifetime–that I know of–where such blatant and widespread censorship occurred. (This is not counting censorship in areas where people never had the right or freedom to express themselves in the first place.)

While the power of social media has gained respect due to these events, much is being done to harm its reputation as well.

Information is disseminated so rapidly that fact-checking and context can be lost. As I’ve said before, the Internet can be full of lies, and we should remember that especially when everyone is clamoring to read the latest breaking news.

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A Tumblr crush

Tumblr crushes

Tumblr is better than Twitter.

There, I’ve said it. I’m sure that Kanye would like to tweet me off my blogging platform right now, but hear me out.

Since Twitter is all about the brief written message, it’s great for mobile. But that strength is also a weakness. Where are the visuals? The videos? Oh yeah, in a link.

Click-throughs aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but if I can avoid adding to the seemingly endless list of open tabs in my browser, I will.

Tumblr, on the other hand, incorporates the visual and interactive components into its design. Embedding: It’s a thing! Who knew?

The formatting of Twitter means scrolling through the day’s messages and seeing an endless list of text and avatars. On Tumblr I can scroll through and stop to examine a picture that catches my eye. It’s like comparing the dos and don’ts of newspaper design.

And speaking of newspapers, I was surprised to find that I prefer Tumblr as a general news source.

Front Pages is a great way to keep up on the news worthy of A-1 from several major papers. The best part is that–as the name implies–the front page of each paper is scanned in. You get the best of both worlds: the feeling of print design with the convenience of hyperlinks.

As my Tumblr Crushes list shows, I am also a fan of the NPR, NPR Fresh Air and Today Show Tumblrs. They feature news that I’m interested in. And if it’s not something I’m interested in, the witty commentary is worthy of my attention. Unlike Twitter, there is always plenty of room to add a snarky quip.

As much as I love Tumblr, I do think that it can take a page from Twitter’s book in one area: lists.

Scrolling through all the content can seem impossible sometimes. It can be avoided by going to the individual pages of those that you are most interested in, but I don’t want to leave my homepage and click more than I have to.

I would love to separate the news Tumblogs from the personal updates, but right now I don’t see a way to do that. I’m going to write to them and see if they fix it.

Oh, and if you’re interested, here is my little Tumblr named Gray Space.

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I Want Real News

Any journalist can tell you that there are certain requirements for something to be considered newsworthy. Not just any water cooler gossip is worthy of being put into print. Is it?

Unfortunately, with the ability to broadcast your life to the world via the Web, an office scandal can turn into a national debate.

Case in point, a recent tweet by columnist and CEO of Brazencareerist.com, Penelope Trunk, said that she was relieved she had a miscarriage at work. Major news networks like CNN have covered this flippant remark.

Although the cavalier attitude toward a miscarriage is unappealing to most, it shouldn’t be a total surprise. Not every pregnancy is wanted.

So why is this news?

She wasn’t a household name before this incident; the issue of abortion is somewhat current, but not pressing; and it has little to no impact on anyone other than Trunk and her family.

I don’t even think that this is a novelty.

People love to talk about themselves, and seeing every detail of someone’s life posted on the Web isn’t new.

It seems that with the Internet apparently taking over traditional news, the traditional news tries to fight back by covering the happenings of the Web.

But the give and take isn’t quite equal. While the Web has everything traditional media does and more, traditional media cannot take everything from the Web and use it successfully.

This is why the news values shouldn’t be forgotten or abandoned in this time of change. “Internet sensation” isn’t on the list for a reason.

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Ashton Kutcher is Not a Journalist

I hate to break it to you, but Ashton Kutcher is not a journalist. Although he actively uses Twitter and beat CNN in the race to 1 million followers back in April*, he is not contributing to the world of news.

But he sure thinks so. In a YouTube video he said that this accomplishment “signifies the turning of the tide from traditional news outlets to social media outlets, social news outlets.”

(To get to the point, start at 2:06)

A Change in Medium, Not in Source

There is undeniably a shift in the way people are obtaining information, but the web isn’t the end of journalism as we know it. People will always want and need the news.

Kutcher goes on to say that sites like Twitter and Facebook are making average people “the source of the news.” In truth, it empowers people to disseminate and analyze the news, but rarely are they the source.

As Steve Outing said in his article, “What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists,” bloggers rarely do original reporting. “They comment on the work of others, or write about personal experiences,” he said.

Traditional News is Still Bigger

Now, there’s nothing wrong with social networking or blogging, but claiming that they are taking the place of traditional news and reporting is laughable.

“I think it’s a huge statement about social media for one person to actually have the ability to broadcast to as many people as a major media network,” Kutcher said.

It would be a huge statement, if it were true. Although their Twitter numbers are comparable, CNN captured over double that number during Larry King last night alone.

When you consider the network news, one million followers pales next to the 7.620 million total viewers NBC Nightly News reeled in last week. The evening news on ABC also came in above 7 million viewers, and CBS above 5 million.

To make a more direct comparison, look at Oprah. According to her website, her talk show brings in an estimated 44 million viewers a week in the United States. She currently has over 2 million followers on Twitter. That is only 4.5% of her viewers.

Working Together

It seems to me that social networking, social news, and blogging aren’t taking over the current media, but they are a useful appendage to it.

The web has helped people connect to their news in a more convenient and personal way. Everyone can feel involved with the news instead of being a passive bystander. The great thing is that with that deeper connection, people will want to learn more.

Ultimately, this will lead them straight back to where they’ve always obtained their news: Journalists. The news may be presented in a different medium, but it is still coming from the same sector.

This fact is especially clear with the social news sites like Digg.com. The news you see can be personalized and commented on, but the stories originate from the websites of traditional news outlets, like magazines and newspapers.

Ironically, Ashton Kutcher—and others who share his opinion—is rebelling against the very thing that supports his cause. Without journalism there would be no social news. Social networking would be just for talking to friends. Blogging would be nothing more than a journal.

I wonder how many followers he would have received if this race hadn’t been covered by traditional news.

*I admit this news is a little old, but I felt that the opinions expressed in the video are commonly held today and therefore it still seemed relevant for this piece.

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