Your Twitter journalism is so phat that _____

Today, spurred by a (rather absurd) debate about whether Twitter is journalism, Brian Solis asked whether tweets are recognized as acts of journalism, and as such, regarded as bona fide journalism. That’s a much better question. As of yet, unfortunately, no media law expert has sprung to answer it in the comments for his post.

Del Harvey Somebody else did answer the question on Twitter, albeit substituting snark for substance: @delbius, also known as Del Harvey, the head of Twitter’s Trust & @Safety team.

Her reply, below, set off one of the funniest exchanges I’ve ever had in more than 3 years of tweeting.

Del: Not gonna lie, read that Tweet and what sprang to mind was “Your mom’s an act of journalism.”

Alex: Your journalism is an act of Mom! Or to put it another way, your journalism is so fat, it had to create a @yearly account.

Del: My journalism is phat, thank you.

Alex: Ok, I’ll play. Your journalism is so phat, it can only be published in 140 characters or more.

Del: Your journalism is so phat that it uses the full title of weblog.

Alex: Your micro journalism is so phat that you have to make the Twitter display widgets auto-width.

Del: Your journalism is so phat your lede takes up a paragraph.

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that the IEEE had to create a new standard data format for your letters.

Del: Your journalism is so phat that your angle is obtuse.

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that you have to use deck.ly to share what your officemate ate for lunch.

Del: Your journalism is so phat your informant was Mrs. Fields.

Alex: Your zombie journalism is so phat that your editor has to use liposuction to find where you buried the lede.

Del: Your journalism is so phat you’re below the *second* fold.

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that your readers are directed by their physicians to go on Lipitor after reading it.

Del: Your journalism is so phat your b-roll had butter on it. (wince @ self)

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that newly elected Congressmen are considering a vote to defund it.

Del: Your journalism is so phat your jump cut is a jiggle cut.

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that you had to get 5000 TB SATA drives to be the scratch disks for your video editing.

Del: Your journalism is so phat your POV pieces are for two people at once.

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that your hyperlinks are coated in myelin.

Alex: Your journalism is so phat that @cjoh had to start running marathons to stay on his information diet.

If you have more reasons your journalism is phat, please add them in the comments.

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11 Comments

Filed under blogging, journalism, social media, technology, Twitter

11 responses to “Your Twitter journalism is so phat that _____

  1. To be more serious about this topic, whether tweets or social media status updates are seen as true journalism is contingent upon a few factors. Whether they are gathered by journalists (and not citizen reporters). And if the outlet for whom the journalist is working recognizes twitter updates as such.
    Some publications will not allow reporters to use twitter statuses as direct quotes (probably smart).
    Otherwise, love the Mad-Lib style of this post. Keep up the good work.

  2. Love the exchange and thanks for the great discussion early on.

    While my “mom is not an act of journalism,” I’m still hoping to hear from media law experts on the subject as it relates to #shieldlaw. Was following this story http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20110208/NJNEWS10/110208031/NJ-court-weighing-limits-journalist-shield-law – but even in this case, it’s a stretch that these tweets represent acts of journalism.

    What if someone like @acarver was placed on the defensive because of the lack of definition or precedent? Either way, hope to push this forward.

    Thanks Alex!

  3. To ask whether or not tweets are *acts* of journalism – in some sort of ancient religious council way, as if to ask whether or not they “defile the hands” – is to fluff over the history of twitter content already used as journalistic content. As with any other journalism, one will probably base one’s answer upon the source and quality.

  4. Meant…@acarvin

    Mark, you’re right. But is it recognized and protected as such? At least it’s worth of exploration…and it’s about to be tested in court…albeit, a weak example at best.

  5. On a side note, a Twitter exchange between two people who don’t protect their tweets is fair game for republishing anywhere else online. But what about a Twitter user with a protected account? Would that require permission of the protector for republication since search engines can’t index it?

  6. Are TwitPics, instagrams, et al. ‘Acts of Photojournalism’ or indeed ‘Photojournalism’?

    Because you can immediately tell a story with a single photograph at key moments in History, and share/publish the url to that image within a tweet, I will argue that photojournalism via twitter is distinct from the journalism via twitter question.

    http://twitpic.com/135xa

    The above TwitPic spoke for itself on January 15, 2009.

    Your twitpic is so phat…

  7. @Jeff – one does not have to be employed by a media organization to produce “true journalism.”

    @Brian – a shield law does not protect anyone from libel. *blink* I just realized that I met Shellee Hale at a Seattle SPJ workshop. Backstory: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/nj_court_rules_blogger_not_pro.html

    @Ari – it is my opinion that a Twitter DM is like a private email: private.

  8. If twitter is journalism, then all writing is a form of literature.
    I will say all literature is a form of memoir, but that’s another discussion.

  9. Let’s go back to square one. Before a journalist was a ‘journalist’ he-she was a ‘reporter’ – reporting on events for the benefit of those who were not on site. Maybe the differentiator here is ‘POV’. Trained journalists work from a set of rules that require as much impartiality as possible and a vetting of sources. In the Twitter age of reporting I think it’s incumbent on the reader to vet the source, as no formal organization may be doing it. It’s kind of buyer beware and consider the source rolled into one.

    • Of course not. But if something is important to us and we want to understand more about where someone’s coming from or if they’re qualified to comment when they contribute information on a news topic, we have online resources to at least try to dig deeper before swallowing someone’s information whole. Our own experience and antennae also come into play as we evaluate what we read on line and try to evaluate its validity. We can create our own ‘fair and balanced’ environment through curiosity and informed search.

  10. Whoa, whoa, whoa, Ellie — you’re saying we, the readers, now have access to the very same resources that a big city daily’s round the clock, fact checking department has?

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