Monday, 29 June 2009

It comes as a shocking realisation that journalists, who have heaped scorn on Facebook, have adopted Twitter as a long-lost familiar. Lisa Pryor in today's Sydney Morning Herald and Sally Jackson in The Australian today show how close journos have got to the Twitterverse, and how comfortable they feel in its noisy, chaotic surrounds.

Jackson's article, 'Journalists take to the Twitterverse', highlights the points of contact and solicits comment from media operators about corporate attitudes and policies. News group editorial director Campbell Reid says that the company is waiting to see if Twitter remains a fad, or whether it develops legs, before instituting a policy.

"It's our belief that journalists who work for us who have news to tell should do so through the vehicles they are employed to supply material for," he says. "We're very uncomfortable with staff tweeting in a professional sense under their own names, for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which is legal protection and concern about what is published."

Basically, they're concerned about the company's reputation should its journalists start making a name for themselves in the Twitterverse. Others go even further.

Seven Media's Pacific Magazines has banned staff from logging on to any social media websites at their desks.

"However, access to specific sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, is provided to staff who require use as part of their typical duties," a spokesman says. "All staff also have non-restricted access to computers in the staff canteen."

Fairfax and the ABC are currently developing policies. I wager none of these organisations have official policies to deal with Facebook use in the office.

Iran, Mumbai and other international news events underscored for journalists how important Twitter can be as an unfettered (though unreliable, in some cases) medium. Twitter visits in Australia increased by 518 per cent between August 2007 and January this year. Research firm eMarketer gauges a number around 12 million globally for Twitter by the end of 2009.

This is nowhere near as explosive as Facebook, which added about 50 million users over a period of six months last year to this. Poor press seems not to have damaged take-up by the rival social networking site, while Twitter struggles to get a twentieth of a way to match Facebook's current usage.

1 comment:

President Leechman said...

It's more than reputation, or maybe... there's a reason for the reputation.

Twitter does one job and it does it well. It's got a boatload of applications that work well with it. It works with cellphones, so reporters can track and post tweets when they're away from their desks.

Facebook doesn't really do anything well. It doesn't do the professional networking as well as LinkedIn, it doesn't do blogging as well as Wordpress or Blogger, it doesn't do microblogging as well as Twitter, it doesn't do chat as well as Jabber or Google Talk.

And it's annoying to use.

After the Great Leech Revolution, my squirmy little troopers will seed the ground where Facebook used to be with... well, not salt. They're leeches. They're allergic to salt.