Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger offers 15 things that Twitter does well and why these matter to news organisations. It’s not groundbreaking, but a great summary that any sceptics should be pointed toward.
- It has different news values;
- It’s a fantastic form of marketing;
- It changes the tone of writing.
The list was given as part of speech delivered by Rusbridger in Sydney last night (or earlier today Australian time):
[W]e journalists find it difficult to look at what’s happening around us and relate it to what we have historically done. Most of these digital upstarts don’t look like media companies. EBay? It buys and sells stuff. Amazon? The same. TripAdvisor? It’s flogging holidays. Facebook? It’s where teenagers post all the stuff that will make them unemployable later in life.
If that’s all we see when we look at those websites then we’re missing the picture. Very early on I forced all senior Guardian editors on to Facebook to understand for themselves how these new ways of creativity and connection worked. EBay can teach us how to handle the kind of reputational and identity issues we’re all coming to terms with our readers. Amazon or TripAdvisor can reveal the power of peer review.
We should understand what Tumblr or Flipboard or Twitter are all about – social media so new they’re not even yet Hollywood blockbusters.
I’ve lost count of the times people – including a surprising number of colleagues in media companies – roll their eyes at the mention of Twitter. “No time for it,” they say. “Inane stuff about what twits are having for breakfast. Nothing to do with the news business.”
Well, yes and no. Inanity – yes, sure, plenty of it. But saying that Twitter has got nothing to do with the news business is about as misguided as you could be.