Kudos to Jeff Pulver and his staff for creating what turned out to be an extraordinary day of discussion and learning, not to mention more than a little music and humor.
Following is a digest of some of my favorite moments, as tweeted. I already blogged about the extraordinary discussion that took place between Ann Curry, Robert Scoble and Rick Sanchez: “RickSanchezCNN was listening to #CNNfail: Did Twitter change CNN coverage?“
I will note, and indeed tweeted, that I was surprised that no one on the Twitter for business panel talked about when NOT to use Twitter, given the legal or compliance issues in regulated industries. I’ll be writing more about that later this trip.
After all, collecting links and ideas from the day from a conference about Twitter from Twitter makes sense, no? I remain sad that I missed the keynotes by @JeffPulver, @Jack, @FredWilson and @TimOReilly that started the day but know that I’ll be able to watch them later and that the hundreds of other attendees here will summarize those words and insights perfectly well for the rest of the Web.
Twitter is changing newspapers, both in their relationship to readers and within the newsroom. Editors and writers are collaborating more on news or events, in real-time. As Patrick LaForge (@palafo) said during the panel when he was watching Twitter, he saw a tweet come in that “There’s a plane in the Hudson.” The Village Voice has created a private account to coordinate coverage.
Journalists are receiving tips and sharing news with their followers, engaging in so-called “process journalism.”
On Digital Journalism
JohnAByrne of BusinessWeek shared that perspective, noting that “now journalism” — reporting on news as it breaks and evolves on the real-time Web, is enabled and extended by Twitter. Reporters now use Twitter to report, share & discuss news. The extension of news gathering and sharing into these digital platforms changes it from a product to a process. Indeed, Byrne believes that “Twitter as a collaborative and engagement tool is essential to any kind of forward-thinking journalism.”
A journalist from the Middle East, @moeed, of http://aljazeera.net, stated that “Micro reporting has transformed how we do reporting, particularly in crisis situations, like war.” He shared a number of innovative digital platforms that are enabling Al Jazeera to both disseminate information and to leverage the distributed eyes, ears and phones of people scattered across a region.
- Al Jazeera set up a Twitter account specifically for the Gaza conflict: @AJGaza and then fed it back into ALJazeera.net
- Geolocation of Tweets was used to feed this mashup: labs.aljazeera.net/warongaza
- ushahidi.com was used to crowdsourced crisis coverage. Examples include <a href="http://votereport.in/" target="_blank"votereport.in and swineflu.ushahidi.com
Chris (@1000TimesYes) of http://RollingStone.com and the @VillageVoice) is reviewing 1000 records on Twitter in 2009. Michael brought down the house, too. He was both hilarious & darkly poetic in bemoaning the death of the music critic.“Crowdsourcing killed punk rock,” in his view, along with many other alternative or indie genres.
On Love, Microsyntax, @CNNBrk, Kodak & Power
Panels and speeches also included the following, all of which you can find commentary and quotes from or about on #140conf:
- a love letter to Twitter from @pistachio
- @stoweboyd on his microsyntax nonproject at Microsyntax.org
- @imajes on the story behind @CNNBRK (he created a script that posted CNN email alerts into Twitter)
- @JeffreyHayzlett on Kodak and Twitter, which included a crowdsourced term: “twanker” for a Twitterers that show bad form
- @ajkeen on Twitter and power (a contrarian’s take to be sure)
On the real-time Web
This was aa tremendous day. The conversation that has been unfolding on the tension between information about events coming in over the real-time Web and so-called “old media” organizations that seek to uphold journalistic standards honed over decades is fascinating. It follows on the blog up…er, blow up between TechCrunch and the New York Times regarding process vs product journalism earlier this month. For journalists, getting the story right, with corroboration, attribution and validity is crucial. Finding a way to do that in the context of the torrent of real-time news will be a central challenge of newsrooms in the month to come.
These are tough questions, debated by the world’s best thinkers on digital journalism and technology. My Twitter conversation with Jason Pontin yesterday lingers: what are the opportunities for distributed, “open source” journalism? Twitter and blogs from #IranElection are a novel source. And as Jason pointed out, we know that there’s misinformation and rumors there; how can journalists do real reporting on Twitter?
Journalists are filing links to pictures and video, which helps — harder to fake the latter — but there are real challenges. As Jason tweeted, “reporting requires verification from at least three sources, posted or printed in an authoritative, independent publication. If I were editing #iranelection stories, I’d want: who is the open source? What conflicting interests? Cross-verification? Open source journalism, appropriately handled, could provide verification.”
It’s possible some technologists in today’s audience or in Silicon Valley, India, Israel or home from MIT for the summer might find a way to provide all of that. For now, I’m looking forward to learning more from the Web luminaries here at the 140 Characters Conference.