Saturday, July 19, 2008

Now you'll hear the rest of the story about the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its readers

In my previous post, I was perhaps a bit brutal on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, whom I accused of using Twitter as a one-way avenue to push out information, while missing the opportunity to gather information using the service.

But at least the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is using Twitter as a one-way avenue. Some people think that Twitter is a zero way avenue.

I've been in my cocoon so long that I forget that 99% of the population doesn't know about how Twitter was used to provide information during the San Diego fires. Or how Twitter is being used by the Los Angeles Fire Department to provide information. And there are probably tons of other examples of how Twitter has been useful.

Yet Twitter still carries a stigma for some people, as these comments to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Follow us on Twitter" post demonstrate.


No. Twitter is the latest excuse for journalists to write empty drivel. Shame on you for doing it. Blogging is one thing. Twitter is why I shed no tears when I hear about newspapers' bottom line and layoffs. You should be laid off when you make decisions like this.

This prompted the following response from Aaron Story (known on Twitter as cheeseheadtv, which is also the name of the associated blog):



Thank you for showing you have no knowledge of what Twitter is, how it is best used by journalists, or indeed, about Web 2.0 in general. Cheers.

Forgetaboutit chimed in:


Twitter appears to be something intended for 12 and 13 year old girls to talk about how tough algebra is and talk about cute boys.

Displaced Packer Fan was somewhat more civil:

Displaced Packer Fan

Aaronstory, on the surface, it sure looks like yet another waste of time. Since you are obviously such a fan, why not tell us why you like it so much...otherwise, I truly doubt any of us will spend more than 2 min thinking about it.

Aaron responded:


Twitter is brilliant for anyone who wants instant info on any subject (ie Packer fans - Click on my name to follow CheeseheadTv)It's best used on a mobile device - My favorite explanation of what it is and how to use it is here:


The link, by the way, goes to the Common Craft "Twitter in Plain English" video, which doesn't exactly answer the questions of others regarding why a newspaper would want to use Twitter. I'd recommend something like the interview of Nate Ritter to which I linked earlier. Or better yet, read Paul Bradshaw's post from April:

You're a busy reporter; you have 40 page leads and 132 NIBs to write by lunchtime; but if you're simply going to Google when you need info for a story or a lead then you're missing out on the benefits of the web 2.0-driven internet and wasting valuable time - let that news come to you instead.

The combined use of RSS feeds and other social media tools can help bring your way sources and information you might otherwise have overlooked - making it easier to spot leads or put new meat on an article.

It takes a little time to set yourself up the necessary accounts and alerts and then tailor them to your specific needs - but once you are there then the news will come flooding your way.

I call it "Passive-Aggressive Newsgathering".

More here, including a specific discussion of Twitter itself.

P.S. In case you're wondering why I'm talking about this here, rather than at the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, it's because the latter site requires you to create a login. And I have enough logins already.

P.P.S. In case you didn't catch the news reference in the title, read a book.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus