In touch with the news through Twitter

Yesterday, I had the privilege of moderating a political panel of journalism heavyweights — David Gergen, Charlie Cook, Taylor Batten, Domenico Montanaro, Anita Kumar and Rob Christensen — as part of the Elon University Poll’s latest polling results. (But enough about them. I’m the guy standing at the podium on the far left.)

It was going well with a lot of give and take among the panelists, I thought. I looked over the audience preparing to open it for questions and almost panicked. So many people were looking down at their smart phones and texting! Had I lost them? That couldn’t be right; the panel was saying smart, headline-grabbing quotes. Then I realized that the crowd was live tweeting the event. Rick Thames, editor of The Charlotte Observer, which hosted the event with Elon University, announced the appropriate hashtag — #ElonPoll — before the panel started. That, in itself, was pretty cool.

It also made me realize what people who aren’t on Twitter or who “don’t get” Twitter are missing.

Update: In the comments, Phil Meyer correct points out a potential danger with live-tweeting when using “the classic bait-and-switch rhetorical device.” Of course, that’s not a problem limited to Twitter.

Update 2:

3 thoughts on “In touch with the news through Twitter

  1. It happened at ConvergeSouth 2 years ago and I thought it was rude (not listening) till I got educated. People who couldn’t attend were sending in questions, too. Great stuff, this technology.

  2. There is a downside. In my usual lecture on The Vanishing Newspaper, I show a slide displaying the trend line extended to show every-day readership at zero in 2043. Then, using the classic bait-and-switch rhetorical device, I explain why that’s not gonna happen. Publishers will either find a stable business model or shut down long before the zero point is reached. But after one such lecture, the host sent me a transcript of the tweets. Every tweeter who relayed the bait missed the switch! For all the tweet audience knew, I claimed that newspapers really would be dead in 2043. In April!

  3. Thanks, Phil. I use your Vanishing Newspaper trend line in my classes, normally to prod someone in the class to tackle the topic as a research paper thesis. No takers so far.

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