No, twitter is not dangerous, people are.
Jason Schreier did do a good job exposing some of the flaws of Twitter with his experiment, but I’m not sure the situation is exactly as dire as he had it. Schreier made up some rumors and sent them to a popular twitter rumor mill about college football prospects. That set off a chain of events that ended with a team website picking up a fake rumor.
Schreier chooses to make this about journalistic integrity, and that is, of course, a ‘problem’ in journalism. There are lazy journalists and there are plagiarists, and there always have been. That’s just part of the package.
But is this twitter’s fault? Perhaps, by making those fake rumors easier to find.
But mostly, if it’s twitter’s fault, it’s because the medium has democratized journalism to an extent. The barriers to entry are easier. This twitter account could be anyone, essentially combing through twitter news and disseminating what they find.
That might sound horrid to some. That’s exactly why it’s twitter’s fault, the thinking might go. But this is also the beauty of twitter. It has made information more readily accessible, and therefore has devalued the access to information. It has devalued the firsties. It has therefore moved value to the analysis over the access.
These are good things.
We will always have the ‘professional’ journalists that have access. They will always have a place. The problem in a pre-twitter world was that there was such a high barrier to entry into that world that plenty of bright minds chose other paths. Without access they felt that there was no place for their voice, perhaps.
I’d put forward that there are more brilliant voices and analysts in our media today because the barrier to entry was lowered by services like twitter. So yes, things like this are twitter’s fault, in a way. But it’s also people’s fault for choosing that analyst, or choosing to purposely make that analyst look bad. Move along and get your college football rumors from someone else.
Don’t throw all the good out with the bad. I understand that I owe anything I have to twitter, in a way, so I’m biased. But, if you’re here, you respect my thoughts on some level. Let me stand as an example that twitter is not all bad.