Evening Standard fails in its meagre attempts to understand Twitter

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twitter-fail.jpgAh, the Evening Standard, that bastion of dead-tree media. The paper has written an article about Twitter – go read it now, I’ll wait. Back? Okay. There are so many things wrong with the article, but I’ll pick three out for special consideration.

Firstly, the assumption that Twitter is just another social network. It’s not. It’s not about pictures, poking or friends lists. Instead, it’s about microblogging – pushing out short updates that say what’s going on in your life.

Secondly, Nick Curtis says that Twitter messages are limited to 160 characters. He’s wrong. It’s 140. C’mon Nick, the simplest of fact checks would have spotted that one.

Lastly, and relatedly, the utter lack of effort that went into researching the article. Here’s Nick’s Twitter account – @NickCurtis. Looks like he’s made a real effort there.

Twitter may not be for everyone, but at the very least, the editor of the paper should have given the task of writing about it to someone who actually uses similar web services on a regular basis. Nick sounds like he really doesn’t know or even care about what he’s writing about, which is a shame.

Twitter is a very powerful, if occasionally distracting, tool. It’s fun, but it’s also incredibly useful. I found out about the Nokia N97 this morning not on the news, or even on tech blog aggregators, but on Twitter. In modern journalism – a world where minutes count – Twitter is one of the most helpful tools I’ve ever found. Long may it live.

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Duncan Geere