As this post goes live I will be speaking on BBC Radio WM’s Breakfast Show, talking about the UK media’s current obsession: Twitter. Having sighed loudly at a number of recent pieces of media coverage that focused on the celebrity angle and/or the mundane nature of the service, I could hardly say no. But I wanted to do something different – I wanted to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter very clearly in the way I phrased my responses.
So I turned to Twitter.
First, I asked for help in fielding the inevitable focus on celebrities and triviality, and received some great one-liners, including:
MediaCoach @paulbradshaw Twitter is like a big party. Sometimes celebs wander in, and people flock to them. But the lasting value is business contacts
pezholio @paulbradshaw Twitter is only as mundane as the people you follow. Calling Twitter mundane is as ridiculous as calling TV or radio mundane.
Then I decided to make it more interesting. I tweeted: “can we anticipate the questions & answers via Twitter? Tag response #bbcwm”
In all the topic had over 150 tweets. The hashtag #bbcwm was at one point the 5th most mentioned on Twitter, and the 7th most searched-for (more searched-for than ‘iPhone’).
Here is the interview we pieced together:
Anticipated question 1: (@tweehee) isn’t it a waste of time?
davidelstone: #bbcwm It’s actually a saver of time – imagine how long you’d be on the phone trying to make as many contacts as you can with a few clicks!
emmagilliam: #bbcwm waste of time? i knew about scolari sacking in secs/mins. i knew about buffalo plane crash in mins. thus, not a waste – fr me.
Question 2 (@theknickermafia): What’s Twitter all about?
technicalfault: @paulbradshaw #bbcwm sharing knowledge, thoughts and ideas, instantly and concisely with people who are interested in what yuo say and think
Question 3 (@tweehee): what famous people are on it?
joannageary: #bbcwm A-lister: Demi Moore @mrskutcher
Question 4: @defcon_5 says BBC will want to hear about Twitter catfights – anyone know of any?
louisedoherty: @paulbradshaw http://is.gd/jcN0 and http://is.gd/jPE6 and http://is.gd/jI4a …? #bbcwm
nuttycow: the whole things about @derekdraper following all of @iaindale ’s followers to publicise his own site?
Question 5: @AlrightTit ‘How do you ever get any work done?!’
PaulJennings: @paulbradshaw #bbcwm by mentally classifying tweets as office banter – they can be ignored if necesary.
@bounder continuous partial attention 😉
Question 6: podnosh: What advice can you give me on using Twitter?
john383: #bbcwm start following people whod interest you in ‘real life’,have conversations,follow those others follow.It wont make sense till you do!
Anticipated question 7: debbiemet “Can’t these people make *real* friends? They’re so sad.”
Kate_Butler @paulbradshaw maybe it’s the poverty of the language. we don’t have words to describe ‘friends’ you’ve not met and may never meet.
Anticipated question 8: markmedia: Won’t Twitter be another channel spreading rumour and libel?
jayrosen_nyu @paulbradshaw My reply to that would be: open systems don’t work like closed systems. Who told you they did? And, did you get a receipt? …
Question 9: joannageary: Isn’t it a bit creepy “following” people? Doesn’t that make you a bit of a stalker? Why would you want strangers knowing what you do?
tombeardshaw @paulbradshaw they don’t ‘know what you do’, they read the messages you choose to sent. Why Twitter works = it’s all opt IN – spammrs h8 it.
There were also a number of more creative suggestions for questions/anticipated lines of enquiry. Here they are:
foodiesarah: @paulbradshaw #bbcwm hilariously get asked for the ‘correct’ names/terms for things. usually involves being asked whether being a twit is …
PaulJennings: @paulbradshaw #bbcwm – who do you think should twitter – which famous person
bounder: #bbcwm what’s the best ever tweet you’ve seen?
emmagilliam: #bbcwm who’s your favourite twitterer?
Sn1per: @paulbradshaw How are they going to make money? #bbcwm
AJWSmith: @paulbradshaw #bbcwm Will it damage my computer?
nuttycow: @paulbradshaw #bbcwm favourite tweet? Tweeter you’d most like to shag? How long could you live without twitter? what’s wrong with twitter?
photocumbria: #bbcwm “Isn’t all just one big media circle-jerk?” 😉
And finally, from the prolific Steveh123:
I’m no early adopter. I watch and wait. I’m still on the nursery slopes of Twitter. And I’m making it up as I go along. So far I like the taste of Twitter. I’m already prepared to defend it…
1. Twitter isn’t compulsory. Use it because you want to, or find it useful.
2. Nothing wrong with following celebs. It’s fun, and they don’t clog up your Twitter stream anyway.
3. Use Twitter in the way you want to, not because you think you have to fit someone else’s mould. It’s your stream, and yours to play with.
4. I follow loads of news outlets, and think my RSS feeds/iGoogle could soon look rather old-school.
5. I want news. But if I wanted sock monkeys, I could find them on Twitter. I know this for a fact.
6. I also want to follow Oxfam, Save the Children and other international development agencies. Never have I felt so in touch with the world.
7. If you twitter to say you’re in Tesco, fine. It’s taken a valuable 30 seconds of your life to do so, but if it was good for you, great. I know your tweet will disappear down the tree very quickly.
8. If you don’t like Twitter, unjoin.
9. There are times when I opt out of Twitter. All for the best.
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