Why are so many journalists clueless about Twitter?

Blogger Rachel Sklar admits to a pet peeve which I share: journalists who write disparagingly about Twitter while having no idea what it is or how it works.

I recall a freelance writer whose first tweet a few months ago was along the lines of: “Hey, my story about Twitter just got published.” No trace of irony.

There are plenty of great examples, but I’ll leave it to Rachel to excoriate some of the worst.

Two troubling questions remain: why is the standard of reporting around Twitter so dismal, and is there a similar problem with coverage of other topics?


  1. I’ve just finished reading Here Comes Everybody, by Clay Shirky. One of the things he says in that book is that those in professions that are disappearing (journalism as a “profession” is being made redundant by amateurs now that the abundance of the internet has replaced the scarcity of the printing press) have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, even if by doing so they are harming the cause their “profession” is supposed to be about (in this case the reporting of what’s happening).

    If reporters were to admit that, for example, the best reporting out of Iran this weekend was on Twitter, they would be recognizing that their profession no longer exists – that anyone can do journalism.

    That’s kinda scary for them, so they feel (no doubt sub-consciously) that it’s better to put their heads in the sand or to disparage these upstart media.

    And that, of course, is precisely the wrong thing to do.

  2. And for more on how journalists can acknowledge and amplify reporting from Iran via Twitter, I recommend reading

  3. I agree Simon. Fear and dismissiveness of anyone “not a journalist” have been infecting journalism for too long. Combine that with the fairly common ignorance of technology, and it’s not surprising that Twitter gets short shrift.

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