News “tweets” may come from unreliable sources!
Ok, look: a while back, I didn’t know what to make of Facebook. At first, it seemed like a sad popularity contest, but now it has essentially replaced Flickr.com, Classmates.com, MSN Messenger and my email account. So I guess you could say it’s pretty useful.
Twitter, though? The jury’s not in just yet, but right now I’m leaning towards “Eff that!”.
It would appear that the main purpose of Twitter is to send out tweets and track tweets sent out by people you care about. At 140 characters (I think), these are essentially the equivalent of Facebook status updates (chalk up another “replaces” to Facebook).
I don’t know about you, but status updates are just about the most annoying aspect of the Facebook experience (next to news feeds that include quiz results as to what vegetable your friend is most like. Wtf?! Stop with the stupid quizzes already!).
Yes, I know there’s more to Twitter than that, but it seems to me that Twitter is best used by those who are involved with marketing/PR and who care to follow strangers’ thoughts on their product or field.
Me? I couldn’t care less.
For years I’ve been arguing with people about the place of blogs in society. Blogs are one person’s opinion, venting out into cyberspace, with little or no responsibility. I wanna say that Cory Doctorow needs a bitchslap? I can do that here.
But don’t – I repeat DO NOT – try to tell me that bloggers are the same as reporters or on a par with mainstream news outlets.
The difference is simple: accountability.
Twitter, for the most part, is simply micro-blogging.
Boingboing had a post today about tweeting in Iran during all this protesting of the recent general election, and it boils down to this: people can’t make heads nor tails of what the heck is going on because there’s so much chaotic, unorganized, unreliable info coming their way.
The post reads in part:
“Several fellow passengers agreed that one of the feelings shared around the
Iran story is the sense that so much information from new, unfamiliar sources
seems to be flooding us, without good filters, or many trusted, authoritative
If only there were companies willing to organize this chaos for us and who would be held accountable for misinformation…
Wait…you mean like…this? Or this? Or this?
Just because you don’t trust your doctor 100% doesn’t mean you should be running to a shaman, folks. Carry some salt with you and you’ll be ok.
The tragedy is when these news folks start drinking the Twitter Kool-aid, as Boingboing points out:
“And overall, cable news is doing a lousy job anyway. Blowhard anchors reading
random tweets, and logging on to Facebook groups? Thanks, but I can do that
myself -- without the theatrics.”
The sad part is that in their quest for instant news, the old reliable news organizations are starting to regurgitate the unreliable stuff. And, so long as they say, “it’s being reported that…” well, they’re off the hook now aren’t they – since THEY weren’t the ones reporting it, they were just reporting that it was being reported.
You know, with all this unreliable stuff floating around via Twitter, it can’t be too long before someone tweets something irresponsible enough to warrant a lawsuit for libel.
Would tweeting to millions that a famous musician assaulted you when in fact it was someone else count?
And if you have time to tweet, dumbass, you have time to dial 911. At the very least the guy should be charged for tying up emergency phone lines.
Can we start calling irresponsible tweeters "twits"?
Yeah, you're right: "attention whores" works too.