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Next Frivilous Thing Might Improve Journalism

Okay, we all know all the bad raps that Blogs got, and then, like it or not, they changed the way journalism is practiced. At first I thought it a waste of time, then I got blogging and it changed everything.

Then along came Twitter. Up until this week, I am thinking what a dumb idea. Who cares where I am and what I am doing? Then I read about Robert Scoble using Twitter to alert folks that he is doing an interview and encouraging them to jump in with questions.

What a brilliant idea. Suddenly Twitter is a useful tool. Indeed, in the concept’s much earlier incarnations, it was really the first Internet use. Geeks working on computer programs would send out a Twitter-like message so other programmers knew who was doing what, where and when.

Now, David Cohn points me to a guy who lives his life with the help of lots of other people advising him what to do in a real time basis. The guy, Kevin Lim writes:

I call myself a “Social Cyborg”, a human meshed with technology to network on any media / anywhere. My presence is augmented by the minds of many, with my decisions polled from the opinions of friends (real time crowdsourcing).  

 Nutty? Maybe. On the other hand, herein may be the seeds of a new way of practicing journalism or other tasks.  

 Cohn writes:

I’m not suggesting newspaper reporters go to the same extremes as Kevin Lim, which in my mind is about performance art as well as reporting, I’m highlighting it to show how extreme social reporting can be taken. Just take a look at his use of Google Calenders and Jaiku.

5 Responses to “Next Frivilous Thing Might Improve Journalism”

  1. shelbinator Says:

    You and me both. I couldn’t stop musing about how silly Twitter was and now I rely on it.

    Our Choose or Lose coverage of Super Tuesday is going to involve some live streaming video, and I plan on Twittering as much as possible. Twitter seems like a natural companion to live video. Without it, people who tune in late aren’t sure what they’re looking at, and unless you stare at the page all day nobody knows when to tune in in the first place.

  2. Leonard Witt Says:

    Hi Shelby:

    So for my readers here and for a discussion I am having about this at the new Wired Journalists site how do people get on your Twitter list and when and where will the livestreaming take place.

    And finally technically how will you do it, with what gear etc.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  3. shelbinator Says:

    Simple enough: just sign up for a Twitter account, go to my Twitter page, and click Follow. (For instant updates, you’ll want to make sure you set up your IM client and/or cellphone with Twitter. If you’ve done either of those, then after Twitter acknowledges that you’re Following someone, you then have to toggle the Notifications ON — otherwise you’ll only see their tweets on your web feed, not via IM or SMS.)

    Of course, the downside to following someone solely for the purpose of knowing when they’re live streaming or doing something else interesting is that you’re potentially subject to a ton of really boring stuff, like me complaining about the papers I’m grading, or to TMI, like a couple new media friends of ours who sometimes alert us to impending whoopie. One workaround that’s emerging for that is the use of hashtags: keywords like Technorati tags prefaced with a pound sign, e.g., #livestream. Personally, I’m trying to decide whether to sacrifice 13 of my precious 140 Twitter characters to #streetteam08 to tag my news-relevant tweets, or hope that the shorter #st08 is clear enough. The # symbol is only necessary for these tweets to be aggregated and archived at Twitter-related sites like or But in order to get real-time updates about my livestreaming without following the rest of my life, you could send Twitter the command, “track streetteam08;” then, so long as I remember to include that tag in every streaming announcement tweet, you will receive that message when I send it out.

    Sorry for the mini-lecture. Hope it was all relevant.

  4. shelbinator Says:

    Addendum: Sadly, following that #streetteam08 tag will only alert any interested parties to my particular live stream on Tuesday or subsequent video updates, as I appear to be the only one of us 51 that actually uses Twitter, and I haven’t inspired any interest in joining, yet, either.

  5. Crowdsourcing: Who’s Keeing Track of Accuracy? « IMS201 Blog Says:

    [...] This post does a little bit of a backtrack to the topic of crowd sourcing, but I found a blog that is relevant to the issue and my thoughts/concerns about its relationship to journalism. [...]