Friends, reporters, fam: It’s time we journalists all considered disengaging from the daily rhythms of Twitter, the world’s most damaging social network
As an aspirational ethos, “never tweet” raises an interesting quandary in modern journalism. How do you weigh thoughtful, well founded and quality reporting against a platform that gratifies pure reaction? Its very hard to serve two masters, to say nothing of serving them well.
Perhaps the most realistic aspiration is viewing Twitter as the ultimate challenge of brevity. I have always taken real interest in those who say exactly what they mean, communicating all that’s implied, without needing to exceed 280 characters. When this is coupled with an aptitude to skillfully choose what one Tweets about, avoiding reaction to every blip in the news cycle, is when that platform is used best.
Interesting read with intriguing points. I loved Brian Stelter's take on it: "Being on Twitter contributes to a sense that the thing being shouted about is hugely important and being discussed by THE WHOLE WORLD when in fact it's being discussed solely by people who are Extremely Online."
Twitter is fun and engaging but it has destroyed political discourse. Tweet about the NBA, tweet about KPop, but journalists should stop trying to form policy one quip at a time!
Essentially how I use the platform. Lurking and reading, and sometimes getting caught in the comments blackhole.
My first reaction to this headline was, not gonna happen, I love Twitter! But then I thought about it some more and realized this is already the way I use Twitter. I've always been very careful about what I post, and as my days have gotten ever busier I don't usually have time to think up witty things to post. I hope at least some people continue to tweet though, so I can keep lurking.
When I was with Patch in its original incarnation, my team, then the East Coast from New Hampshire to Florida, more than 500 reporters, had to get permission to Tweet during breaking news stories of merit or national interest. The mantra was " we would rather be right the first time than first and wrong". Twitter makes it too easy for showboating and it fosters lazy fact checking. And, while it's good for a pithy comeback (brevity being the soul of wit and all) it's not too good with nuance, irony or the more subtle aspects of language. Most times people are responding more from the id than the ego.
I mean, for a journalist, I don't think it's great to say "never tweet." I use the term as a sarcastic joke and not literally. It's more about learning how to sometimes take a step back and find better approaches to the social network. Twitter is a strong platform for curation, sourcing, and listening to audiences as a writer, reporter, and journalist—we can't forget that.
I also don't love it when people say "never tweet" to people in general; it comes across as smug — the platform is a great tool to connect and find resources for so many communities. Those communities include minorities, the disabled, job seekers, and so many more.
Twitter is the closest thing we have to Skynet so far. It constantly feeds its algorithms with the worst of humanity...and bots. I wonder if we would have gotten to this point without all the fake accounts and willful antagonism. Disengaging isn’t going to be easy, but it may be an industry (and soul) saving decision.
Tweeter sucks. I’m unsure that in the food industry it really matters anymore.
Success (or maybe "safety" in this case) on Twitter comes down to one key skill: self-regulation. Just scroll on past the fracus. (insert GIF of raptly watching spectator stuffing their mouth full of popcorn)
When people started texting, I said I simply would not. Worked for a while.... But I never liked the idea of Twitter and tweets, promised myself I wouldn't use it, and I never have. It's too weird in so many ways, not the least of which is the verb, "to tweet," as in "he tweeted today." It's one of the many recent indications that civilization, as we have known it, is crumbling.
Perhaps it may be incumbent upon those who consider themselves a "journalist" to revisit exactly what that moniker means in todays world. What it used to mean is someone who delivered the facts of something newsworthy, in a manner that was easily digestible, leaving the consumer without any evidence of their political bias if indeed one existed. Today however that word and those who wear it have found themselves in an increasingly polarized environment within their profession. The competition against new media, and other non traditional sources of information like citizen journalists found on various soial media platforms makes maintaining objectivity all the more difficult. So, with that said have a look at twitter and see who in fact is getting themselves in hot water there. My observation is those who aspire to be less than the profession seeks to promote as its ideal. Exceptions to this are those who are on Twitter to promote their material, and/or engage directly with their listeners/reader/viewers.
Generally speaking however, what you will find are "Celebrity" journalists or those Cable News Hosts and Contributors who provide Commentary, and are perceived to be journalists either by themselves or their audiences.
Some years ago one such Cable News Host Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel proclaimed Journalism Dead. In some regards his analysis was indeed spot on particularly with respect to the coverage of Politics. I would take issue beyond that realm because there are many examples of an exceptional craft bringing valuable information to the public every day.
Journalism is not dead, but Journalistic objectivity with respect to Politics is on life support, and Twitter serves no one who claims to be a Journalist who also presents themselves as an objective source of the facts.
The problem with the media reporting twitter stories is that reporters either react without an investigation or don't care to investigate as long as the story meets their political agenda. It's a shame..
Echo chambers are problematic rather than Twitter itself in my opinion.
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