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For @GuidoFawkes, Twitter is a fad that will disappear; for @MickFealty, it’s a valuable tool

May 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Social media and blogging

Twitter is a ‘fad that will soon disappear,’ political blogger Paul Staines said yesterday.

Staines, who blogs under the alias Guido Fawkes, told participants at the Voices Online Blogging conference at City University that he has ‘not got the time’ to monitor the 3,000 + followers of @guidofawkes.

“How profound can you be in 140 characters?” he said. “I use Twitter to broadcast, but I go to individual bloggers for information.”

Staines argued that the increasing popularity of the site, boosted by celebrity users such as Stephen Fry and Oprah Winfrey, meant that ‘overload is inevitable’.

However, Mick Fealty (@mickfealty) creator of the Slugger O’Toole blog, agreed that Twitter is a ‘nightmare’ but insisted it remained an ‘important tool’ for journalists.

“I used it on the day of the US elections last November, when I was writing a live blog on the Slugger site,” he explained. “I canvassed for US readers to be mini-bloggers for one day.

He used feeds from people who were watching three or four American television networks, he said. “Within about two minutes I knew what had gone out on ABC, Fox and CNN, and I could give a clear judgement about what was going on.”

Fealty added that the site was an effective tool to generate information about an area where he had ‘no local or native knowledge’.

Twitter’s usefulness was a result of the ‘very smart and intelligent’ contacts he has made using it, he said.

“The value of Twitter is the value of people I follow,” he explained.

Journalism.co.uk reported from the Voices Online Blogging conference 2009. Follow @journalism_live on Twitter for live updates from a wide array of media events.

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Social Media Journalist: ‘USG is the most overrated social media ‘news’ craze’ Jack Lail, Knoxville News Sentinel

Journalism.co.uk talks to journalists across the globe about social media and how they see it changing their industry. This week, Jack Lail of Knoxville News Sentinel.

image of Jack Lail

1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jack D. Lail. I’m the managing editor/multimedia for the Knoxville News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I am in charge of the editorial content on our family of websites that include knoxnews.com and govolsxtra.com.

2) Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
AIM, Twitter and Facebook mainly. I dabble in lots of others. Email? Is that a social media tool? Live in it. Google Reader? Certainly use it every day.

3) Of the thousands of social media tools available could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or newsgathering tool?
I continue to think the unsexy RSS feed has the largest potential and is the most important tool. Twitter and Facebook have potential.

Next is blogging, if you consider that a social media tool. It is critical for mainstream media to adopt and adapt. Because it is a web native publishing platform as well as a social network, it engages and creates community in very effective ways.

Not a software tool, but the iPhone is the biggest game changer in terms of new platform. I’m actually starting to believe the hype about the mobile web.

Users get that product and every other hardware maker is improving their smart phone offerings at a more rapid pace. Did we just go from Gopher to Netscape in the mobile space?

4) And the most overrated in your opinion?
YouTube and Facebook notwithstanding, user-generated content seems to be the most overrated social media ‘news’ craze or the most ineptly executed by traditional media organisations.

I think you’ll see a few sites that thrive at this and nail it and everybody else will suck. There seems to be a difference also in layering in news in social media sites and creating community around news.

Obviously, there are more social media sites being launched than can be supported by audiences or business models. Is it spring and time to prune?

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