Follow me, follow me!

I’ve only been active on the twitter network for a very short time, but with last week’s Turkish Airlines plane crash near Schiphol Airport, I got some interesting experience about twitter. First of all it was sort of weird to see that after some people twittered about the crash and I mentioned it too, the BBC and CNN breaking news twitters came in announcing the crash. Wow, twitter is fast!, I thought. But looking back now, a few days later, that’s about all I can say about it.
Twitter is definitely not journalism, as I heard some people say again, clearly people who don’t have too much idea about journalism. It immediately struck me how many twitters about the crash were presented as facts: the number of deaths, the number of passengers, things like that. Hardly anybody added things like ‘it seems’, or ‘speculation about’, or ‘could be that’. Of course not, you might say, you only have space for 140 characters! Yeah, of course, but ‘it seems no people have died, but not sure yet’ is within the limit too, isn’t it? People who twitter just want to be fast, they are not journalists (at least, most of them are not), and putting some nuance in their twitters doesn’t even cross their mind. That’s okay, but then don’t call yourself a journalist. Being the first one to see something only makes you exactly that: a first eye-witness, and if you coincidentally have a twitter account as well, then you become a twittering first eye-witness. Nothing wrong with that, of course, don’t get me wrong.
My news twitter experience taught me something else as well: how nice it is to see your number of ‘followers’ growing! As soon as I started adding #schiphol (9 characters!) to my twitter, I noticed I got some extra followers immediately, and that was so nice, I twittered some extra useless twits adding #schiphol. Twitter for a big part is shouting around ‘Follow me, follow me!’ And, well, that’s exactly what you should do if you are interested in daily life in Turkey and the Turkish news coming from a journalist. Still, I can’t promise that I’ll ever be a first eye-witness with a twitter account. Because becoming that, is just a coincidence, and not a profession.

2 replies
  1. Ita van Dijk
    Ita van Dijk says:

    Exactly! So right! And so great that you show that journalism requires a careful attitude, which a lot of people (including some journalists) seem to have forgotten.


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