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Note to the Media: Please Stop Quoting Twitter


02.22.10 Posted in Advice, Opinion, Rant, twitter by

I’m sure you’ve noticed a recent phenomenon in the main stream media. It’s something that typically happens whenever a quote is needed for a story. It goes something like this:

Cancer researchers have shown that tomatoes will help reduce prostate cancer. This is big news for men looking to reduce the risk of the deadly cancer.  We attended the press conference earlier today at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Sherry Smith from Sloan-Kettering says the results are encouraging. “So far we’re seen a significant decrease of risk in our tests.”

Bob Miller, a prostate cancer survivor, wishes he had this information years ago. “I would have doubled down on spaghetti!”

Even a recent tweet from John123 said, “Wow! This could change my life!”

We’ll continue to follow this development as it unfolds.

And that’s when the collective viewing audiences thinks:

What the hell is Twitter?

Sorry, but adoption of the service is still a 1%’er thing – even with their hockey stick growth. Remember, just because the number of posts are up 100% doesn’t mean that it’s spreading. It just means more posts are being generated – most likely by the same over-sharers.

Do I know anyone using Twitter?

Sure, you might. And it’s probably the person with their head down at the concert texting rather than the 99% of the crowd enjoying the show.

Who the hell is John123?

Exactly. It’s someone who’s invested a lot of time in an online service. If I’m a 10 year message board veteran I’m pissed – why is Twitter more credible? I post lengthy diatribes about topics I’m expert in, yet they’re quoting some unemployed loser with 100,000 followers? Huh?

Why do I care what John123 has to say?

Exactly #2.  Nothing makes John123 more credible than anyone else randomly publishing garbage on the internet.

The reality is that the media is doing its audience a disservice by quoting Twitterers. It’s as lazy as lazy gets. Almost as lazy as the journalist who interviews friends because they can’t actually find someone with relevant experience to meet a deadline. It’s lazy. And then broadcasters and editors wonder why credibility in the media has dropped? Take a look in the mirror.



5 Responses to “Note to the Media: Please Stop Quoting Twitter”

  1. VDog says:

    It's even better when they quote a *Celebrity* on twitter.

  2. dbinkowski says:

    Exactly. “I can't get to their publicist but I can use search.twitter.com and call it good!”. Online I get it, but broadcast TV using it is weak considering the vast majority of their audience doesn't use it.

  3. This is not new, nor is it unique to Twitter or even social media. Reporters have been grabbing “Average Joes” off the street for years and asking their opinions. Now they can do it without the bother of actually asking any questions because people provide their opinions for free.You can easily reformulate your questions for a random passer-by and get the same answers. In that light, it just sounds like you hate Twitter.

  4. dbinkowski says:

    Spencer,Thanks for the comment, however your correlation isn't accurate. Random passer-bys are grabbed because they are local and connect with the local TV station broadcast community. It's called relevancy. The bottom line is that Twitter is not relevant for the vast majority of Americans. dave

  5. While not an exact correlation, it's simply a matter of scale. The passers-by the grab off the street in the city have little relevance to those in the suburbs which have little relevance to those in rural areas, all covered by the same station.I don't disagree that Twitter is irrelevant to the people who don't use it. What I'm saying is that the problem is not Twitter, while the article reads that it is.

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