Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston Globe Covers Twitter with a He Said She Said Article

The Boston Globe's DC Denison has an article about Twitter in today's paper called So little space, so much ado. The article misses the point that marketers can use twitter listen to and engage customers.

I'm mentioned at the top of the article with this:
Steve Garfield offered a link to his video review of a new microphone.

DC, how about linking to my twitter post?

audio-technica AT2020 USB Microphone Test Wow!
1:49 PM Apr 15th from web
Your readers might want to see what I was talking about. You could have even embedded the video, like this:

The beauty of twitter is that you're not actually limited to 140 characters since you can provide links to anything including text, audio and video.

DC goes on to say: Boston, the most popular Twitter celebrities - including Fitton, Chapman, and Garfield - are for the most part marketing and advertising professionals using the service to stay on the front lines of communications.
I know the article has a marketing slant, but my twitter bio is pretty clear, I'm not a marketing and advertising professional:
Bio Video Producer and Mobile Broadcaster / Teacher / Speaker / Listener / Writer / Founder of Boston Media Makers
DC finds a ready critic for twitter in Babson's Tom Davenport:
"... Twitter reminds me of the CB radio fad. Twitter fans are the same people who last year were excited by Second Life. And where has that gone?"
On his blog on the Harvard Business Publishing website, Davenport wrote, "Let's face it - Twitter is a fad.
Do serious marketers spend a lot of time and energy on Twitter campaigns? I doubt it. Sure, go ahead and play around with it — it doesn't cost much. But I defy you to do serious brand management in 140-character messages. I defy you to prove that Twitter users are your typical customer — unless you sell bubble tea or something similar — or that their tweets are a true reflection of their relationship with your company."
Davenport is only talking about serious marketers, and he missed one of the main benefits of twitter for marketers, it can be used to listen to and to respond to customer's conversations about their products.

Jay Rosen recently wrote about this type of reporting calling it He Said, She Said Journalism: Lame Formula in the Land of the Active User.
Any good blogger, competing journalist or alert press critic can spot and publicize false balance and the lame acceptance of fact-free spin. Do users really want to be left helpless in sorting out who's faking it more? The he said, she said form says they do, but I say decline has set in.
One more point about blogging, see how I linked to Davenport's blog and blog post? That's how should do it. Link out so readers can read more about Davenport's thoughts on twitter. He uses 3,891 characters to talk about twitter on his blog, plus he's gotten 44 comments ( excellent conversation going on over there ), and he links to an opposing view.

How many times do I have to ask to link out?

Final note:

Check out the Globe's twitter accounts. At first glance they all seem to be broadcast only. I don't see any listening going on. No conversation either.

Gotta love this twitter account, @GlobeLunch: Daily menu in the Globe company cafeteria.


Boston Globe Twitter Article

Just got the hard copy Boston Globe.

The photos and graphics in the newspaper display this twitter post of mine:
Quick Microphone Test: Broadcasting live now! See me at 3:58 PM Apr 16th from twhirl
More information that was lost by inefficient ties between the paper and the web.


  1. Steve,

    I'm so glad to see you're comment! :) Grr, they make me mad!

  2. I knew you'd hammer them on the failure to link out!

    And how about the fact that the story and sidebar on the web don't use the "@" convention before usernames? Instead, it looks like this:
    Steve Garfield, video blogger ("stevegarfield"); 12,700 followers

    But hey, the story does link to the stock listings of Forrester Research and EMC Corp - so helpful!

    Good to see you last week, Steve!

    Bryan | @BryanPerson

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Steve,

    There's never a perfect mesh between the paper and online editions of the Globe, so you're right to tweak the paper about missing the opportunity to display the full post (and provide you with substantially more eyes).

    But the syntax of the following is clear: "But in Boston, the most popular Twitter celebrities - including Fitton, Chapman, and Garfield - are for the most part marketing and advertising professionals using the service to stay on the front lines of communications."

    It's saying that most of the Twitter celebs, of which you are apparently one, are ad/marketing folks. It's not saying that you're an ad/marketing pro...

  5. Thanks Mike. I see what you mean.