LJWorld.com weblogs Ally Shaw
Twitter for the masses
Journalists today hail Twitter as being an effective way to reach out to a public which is losing interest in newspapers. It’s what all the cool kids are doing – so why not jump in and try to reach them, right?
I certainly can’t speak for everyone's use of Twitter, but I know my peers at the University of Kansas. Sitting in Italian class the other day, I noticed a girl’s phone going off every few seconds. After class I found out that she was receiving Twitter updates from Kate Gosselin, Angelina Jolie, Mariah Carey, Dane Cook, and Ashton Kutcher. Needless to say, no news here.
But Kutcher has 3.5 million Twitter followers. Unfortunately, a recent study found that 40 percent of the Twitter messages are “pointless babble," 35 percent of all tweets are "conversational," and only 3.6 percent can be considered "news."
So perhaps media bigwigs are putting too much stake in Twitter. Sure, it can be a means to spread news, to learn about the Iranian election and the plane crash in the Hudson River, but from what I’ve heard around campus, I suspect that for most of those who tweet, it’s just another form of entertainment.
Twitter or no Twitter, some people will be just as clueless about the war in Iraq as they were when they didn’t read newspapers.