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Confessions of a Twitter Newbie: Old Guys And New Technology

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Tweet Tweet: Confessions of a Twittering Newbie

By Danny Schechter.

Can the Latest Technology Be Useful for an Aging News Dissector?

I am now following and being followed - still not sure what that means - but I am told it's a good start. I am on Twitter, tweeting to the beat.

I realize I am really a retrograde product of another time, when my ultimate goal in journalism was creating substantive investigative reports or long form documentaries. That is increasingly passe'. What is valued, now I am told, is short bursts of information speedy technology that reaches the world, or your part of it. It's that old KISS Axiom - keep it short and sweet, or simple and stupid.

Everyone is adapting to and using the technology - some as a messaging service, some as a networking tool, some to call projects or films or news to public attention, and some just as a goof. I am a macro blogger trying to go micro. What does it mean?

Of course, Wikipedia has an entry:

"Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

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Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained extensive notability and popularity worldwide."

Twitter explains its reason for being this way: "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

What am I doing?

I am writing about Twitter, and discovering that many journalists are adapting to it. There's a web site called Muck Rack to connect reporters who usually compete with each other.

It's appeal?

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"What if you could get tomorrow's newspaper today?

Now you sorta can, by tracking the short messages on Twitter written by the journalists who do the muckraking for major media outlets.

Muck Rack makes it easy to follow one line, real time reporting."

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See

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