Tag Archives: Twitter

facebook vs twitter on a Butetown mission

I am not saying they can’t coexist peacfully in an online world, but I have been rather interested in the differing ways they can help me as I train to become a journalist.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been researching Butetown for a feature due in next week. My mission which I set myself, was to find a 72-year-old woman who still lives in Butetown.

This has proved to be rather difficult. Lazily, I posted a quick shout out on Twitter in the hope that someone might know someone, who in turn might know someone — and as if by magic, my work could be done — but I hit a dead end, very quickly. No replies and no voice could be heard from the Twitterverse. I was alone.

So, I retreated to some old, tried and tested methods, the telephone (I am a little bit distressed that I am now calling my new Blackberry, old, but yes, it probably is) and failed. No-one wanted to talk to me. I was starting to feel a little hurt.

But then, in a striking breakthrough and through some warranted stalking on Facebook — another thing I never thought I would say — I completed my mission, and with just under a week to spare. Success!

On Facebook, I was able to entwine myself into a group about the area and ask people directly whether they knew of anyone. People who were concerned enough about Butetown and ‘Tiger Bay’ to create a group about it, would surely be able to help.

My thanks go out to everyone who was willing to talk to a stranger on Facebook and help point me in the right direction.

I believe that’s 2-1 to Facebook. Keep up Twitter, you’re supposed to be the “new” social networking site.

I would really appreciate any other tips on how to find individuals on the world wide web and in the big wide world. Feel free to comment


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find a freegan

About 3 weeks ago I set myself the task of trying to find a freegan for an article I wanted to write. They are curious beings. I have searched high and low for one to write on.

Twitter brought me back one freegan. But he lives in London, not quite Cardiff – where are these food finders? I can’t find them!

I got quite interested in freeganism when I started writing an article for alt:Cardiff. I even entertained the idea of donning a hoodie and raiding a supermarket bin, much to my mother’s chagrin. But I got slightly scared. I was offered no protection from my boyfriend who quite simply turned his nose up at the idea, not wishing to stumble through an orange dumpster dirtying his Superdry trainers – so, naturally, being the free-thinking woman I am,  I bottled it.

Remember that article I wrote about the benefits of Facebook for journalists over Twitter. At the time, I couldn’t really see how Facebook could help me – but it did.

It found me a freegan and I get to have a chat with her after Christmas. Now, where shall I take her, a coffee shop or round the back of a supermarket?

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a miscarriage of tweeting?

In the most recent edition of Grazia, there was an article that caught my eye besides the usual attention grabbing dresses of Lily Allen and Lady Gaga- it possessed the headline, “I tweet about lunch, so why shouldn’t I tweet about my miscarriage”. Why shouldn’t she, indeed?

I am talking about Penelope Trunk, 42, a career driven, successful woman who recently tweeted about the loss of her baby during a board meeting.  Picture 1

Since this, she has received death threats from people all over the world ranging from calls of narcissism, to adolescents claiming that she is a “disgusting woman”.  But why?  Is she right to have tweeted such a personal matter on a open, public space for any one of her 20,000 followers to have read? Well, surely, the answer must be yes.  Did she expect such animosity and disgust? Probably not.

When such personal and distressing matters are brought out into the open, people often shy away from them.  Perhaps her manner was brutal. Her wording honest. But if you choose to follow someone on Twitter you are choosing to be a party to their lives, in some respects.  Whether you follow them for links, information, dietary habits, love advice or dating hopes, you follow them in the understanding that they may say things that you don’t agree with.

As Trunk rightly says in her blog, Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist, “Throughout history, the way women have gained control of the female experience is to talk about what is happening, and what it’s like. We see that women’s lives are more enjoyable, more full, and women are more able to summon resilience when women talk openly about their lives.” Tweeting her misfortune to an audience that have signed up to listen could have been seen as some comfort to Trunk.  In a board meeting, where no-one knew what was happening to her, suddenly there were people all over the world who did. It was her body, her pain and her decision to tell people. Some people enjoy talking to others about their problems, it alleviates their pain and allows them to displace their feelings in order to get on with their daily lives.  In this case, her work.

Unfortunately for Trunk, the title of her blog and this tweet will now lead to people attacking her for being unfeminine, too career orientated to have a family and selfish. But really, the only crime she is guilty of, if any, is being too honest.

This for me, is a clear lesson in who we should follow on Twitter.  We should choose to follow people very carefully.  It should be people whose lives we want to know about.  The people that will inform of us of things we would like to hear.  Unlike Facebook, it should not be used as a popularity contest, but a tool for encouraging useful conversation and sharing information.

Trunk’s advice for people who don’t want to know about her life is easy, “Don’t log on”.

  • To read more about this, The Guardian published a defence of Trunk’s decision to tweet about her miscarriage. And I also found the article published at the Winona Daily News, an interesting addition to the debate.

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some more tools for the journalist

After last week’s lecture given by Claire Wardle, or @cward1e as she prefers to Tweet, I thought I would give some of the handy little tools she pointed out a whirl.

I have already been using TweetDeck for some time, but I managed to incorporate Twitscoop, and set up a couple of forward searches which brings me information, rather than making me go out and get it.  Lazy, not so, time management skills put to good use, indeed.  Thank god there is someone that understands all the techno techno of these amazing tools.  I just really hope that I can have his or her number if it all goes wrong.

As you can see from my previous post, I had great difficulty getting in contact with Shannon Hope, Director of the Cardiff Devils but with Twitter, I was able to bypass PR and avoid spending money on petrol and get straight to the story.  What I did find rather amusing in all this was that, in considering how I tracked Shannon down when it came to actually recording the interview, I retreated back into the dark ages.

Today, I used a telephone recording kit for the first time. As I popped my request in for said item, I felt like I was in the MI5 about to bug someone incredibly important, like Stephen Fry. I once applied for MI5, but I failed the entry tests miserably because I didn’t read the question. This is probably a good thing as I imagine a spy shouldn’t stop doing something very important to collect a cup of tea from their mother.

But yes, the telephone kit – I was expecting something uber glamorous, but what I actually got was a normal handset phone attached to a tape recorder.  I even had to purchase a cassette tape for 50p!

Talk about a blast from the past when we are learning about advancing technologies in the world of Web 2.0.  I had more difficulty trying to work the darn tape recorder than figuring out how to configure my iPod or this blog.  To think, some pieces of equipment still need batteries.

However, according to a source, there are digirecorders in the CJS goody box, obviously I look like someone who can’t handle technology. This will have to be rectified, and perhaps the starting point is to stop wearing Mickey Mouse t-shirts.

Claire took us through a social media GPS, pointing out all the important sights along the way.  Filing them away for all to see on Delicious enabled me to come back to them at a later date and on a different computer to have a quick play.

Did you know you can be bad at Twitter?  At Twitter Grader, you are ranked in order of how good you are at using the service.  Currently, I am ranked at 625,932 out of 5,463,814.  Not quite the best progress report I have ever had. But it is interesting that the software is monitored in such a way.  Will there be an awards ceremony for the top user? A category for golden tweeters? Joking aside, this tool is particularly useful as it allows you to filter Twitterers, so if you were working on a story with a particular theme you could easily scope out potential users that could help.

There are many tools available to us, such as Addictomatic, NetVibes and the newly created Pressit.  It is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list by any stretch and will continue to be added to.  The exciting thing about Web 2.0 is that it is continually being developed and with Google Wave being thrown into the loop, even more could change for journalists.

Knowing how to use the different tools available to us is by far the hardest part. Now, if I could only work that tape recorder…

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a historic moment for social media?

This week I made a garguantuan error.  I failed to engage with the conversation.  When I was given this assignment I had already commented on the Trafigura case in my first blog post on October 13th, but as I watched it develop, I let it develop without me.  I watched it passively, rather than actively engaging with the topic.  Oh dear – bad move, smack my hand, it will never happen again.

Everyone knows what happened last week with The Guardian, law firm Carter Ruck, the Houses of Parliament, MP Paul Farrelly, an oil company named Trafigura and Twitter.  If you don’t, you’re a week late – but you can read a brief synopsis here and here.  You can view the question posed by Paul Ferrelly to the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw here.  You can view the Minton Report. You can view the annotated super-injunction here.

If you would prefer a more visual presentation, you can watch this:

Or, you can follow the sequence of last week’s events on One Man and His Blog. Adam Tinworth lays it out quite nicely:

Here’s the rough sequence of events:

But, hang on a minute, hold the phone, stop tweeting – I thought this was a gagging order preventing anyone from speaking or even dreaming about the hush hush, cannot mention case involving, who? What did you say? Did you say TRAFIGURA?

Last week, bloggers and tweeters in their pyjamas – luckily for me, I am still dressed – refused to listen to judges in the High Court and exploded the unmentionable all over the net.  People who had never heard of the alleged illegal toxic dumping carried out by Trafigura off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire, Western Africa were now on the edge of their TweetDeck’s wanting to know more.

This handy little video was uploaded to YouTube from a website called TrendsMap.  Trendsmap is a relatively new mashup, which maps real-time local Twitter trends onto Google Maps.  On October 13th, at the very heart of the debate we can see visually  just how many people in Western Europe and all over the world, were talking about the Trafigura case. That wasn’t quite the point.  By imposing a super-injunction preventing The Guardian from reporting Parliamentary questions Carter Ruck fantastically shot themselves in the foot.

Now that people from all over the world can talk to one another at the click of a button, messages can spread faster than ever.  Mobs can be rallied; causes can be fought for.  What journalists at The Guardian could not talk about for threat of imprisonment or massive fines, Tweeters demanded to know what was being said.

Tweeters have had their meat this week; first big dirty businesses, then Jan Moir.  As I was researching these articles, Twitter, naturally led me to a very interesting article on Impact Media’s SEO Blog. I felt that this quote summed up the importance of social media:

“Suddenly the general public has moved seamlessly from quiet observer to judge, jury and executioner; their platform is no longer a mild-mannered letter to the editor, it’s digital, it’s real-time, it’s social media.”

Rightfully so,  Jan Moir was hung, drawn and quartered on Twitter and in the public eye this week.  A whirlwind of information was sent round Twitter, people rallied round the cause, flew their flags and complained to the Press Complaints Commission in their thousands.  22,000 complaints later and those that did not see the importance of social media in journalism are now waking up to the errors of their ways.  For Carter Ruck and Jan Moir this may be too little, too late.

What I find interesting is the different ways that media outlets have reigned in the power of social media.  On the one hand, you have The Guardian who have trained tweeters to do the hard work for them; they have found a loyal voice that can spread across the world in an instant.

Then there are those that lag behind, such as The Daily Mail and dearest Jan. Told to set up a Twitter account in order to rectify the uncontrollable situation, Jan Moir did her best to calm the crowds.  What began as a thoughtless, inappropriate article approved by her editor, escalated into a widespread controversial issue fuelled by Twitter.  Jan was left begging for forgiveness from her audience that now have the perfect platform in which to voice their disgust.

It has been made abundantly clear this week the power that social media can have.  Journalists need to learn how to use its power and engage with it; not ignore it or let it idly pass them by.

The mob have a voice now and they will be heard…

For a bit more reading on this subject, go to –


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five, not seventeen

I don’t think I’m stupid.  Now, that might be a brave statement considering I am about to explain an Internet Manifesto that I didn’t quite understand, but here goes.  You can let me know if I need to change that first statement…

Okay, so this Internet Manifesto is in my opinion, a document which is preaching to the converted.  People who have found this document are people who are “computer-able”.  They will be journalists or academics who are comfortable with the internet, with blogging, with social networking and Twitter.  Do they need this manifesto?  Are they able to help their struggling colleague who cannot get their head around new media by posting it on their blog, or linking to it from Twitter?  Probably not.  Or will they print it out for them only to find it in the bin 2 hours later…

The problem with the Manifesto is that it is incredibly difficult to digest.  I had to read it 3 or 4 times before retaining about 25% of it.  The writers, in my opinion outline the 17 declarations clearly, but the definitions and advancements on the sub-headings do nothing to enlighten, only confuse.  If the internet is a world accessible to all, if it is supposed to encourage communication by “active participation of the public” I think the writers, unfortunately do a good job of alienating people by throwing around buzzwords and technical jargon. It is too academic to be applied.

As journalists we are taught to say what we mean in the least possible space and this is why, for me, Alison Gow’s Five phrases to outlaw in Newsrooms is much more appealing.  For one, it only has five things to remember, not seventeen.  Gow goes on to explain how you should make time for online journalism (so make sure you visit her site for a full run-down of what she said – don’t rely on me to fill you in), and how it shouldn’t be a chore.  New journalists should throw themselves into new media to become experts at it, not whinge about it.

My dad introduced me to Twitter.  That is embarrassing enough as it is, but now he’s banging on about Posterous video blogging from his iPhone and all sorts of exciting new developments in the world of Web 2.0.  If he can embrace it, everyone can.  I am excited to learn all the different ways of telling a story.  I just don’t think I will be consulting the Internet Manifesto first…

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got it covered

As the bible once said “In the beginning was the word..”, but no wait, you haven’t stumbled across a religious blog.  Oh no, this is the beginning of my new blog.  My word?!  The birth of a new blog is about as close to a child as I might get for a while.  Perhaps it should be a test, like when people keep plants before being allowed a pet. Oh god this has started all wrong.  Now I’m religious and I want to have a baby. All preconceptions of a 24-year-old journalism student have gone out the window. Whoosh..

Back to the real world, I have successfully whiled away two hours trying to make my blog look pretty. Dissatisfied and no further along I thought it might do me some good to start writing.  I always think that the first blog post is the worst, it is like introducing a novel when you don’t really have a plan.  What will encourage people to read this blog over a million others, apart from becoming an absolute whizz at search engine optimisation?

In September, I started at Cardiff School of Journalism and since then I feel overtaken by all things new.  Mainly, work.  After graduating a few years ago and floating my way through very easy jobs, not to mention throwing myself off canyons, out of aeroplanes and sunning myself on Indonesian beaches for three months I now have to work.  Every night.  Far from being a chore, I am enjoying every second of it.  This blog however, has caused me to have a few sleepless nights.  That’s a small white lie, I sleep very well, but it has caused me to think…

Firstly, about the new world of the journalist.  The world that I will be entering, where our moves are tracked online, on air and on paper.  Will we be able to escape? Will we want to?  Today, was a momentous day where old and new media collided  – The Guardian was gagged, they were: “prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Right”.   How to untie its unlawful binds – Twitter!  Once The Guardian had published this article, people began talking about it, tweeting to one another and soon the injunction had reached so many people that the ban was lifted.

Alan Rusbridger tweeted at about midday: “Victory! #CarterRuck caves-in. No #Guardian court hearing. Media can now report Paul Farrelly’s PQ about #Trafigura. More soon on Guardian..”  and then shortly after, “Thanks to Twitter/all tweeters for fantastic support over past 16 hours! Great victory for free speech. #guardian #trafigura #carterRuck”

In breaking this story, both old and new journalism were working together.  The fortresses were broken down.  It is evident now more than ever, that those journalists who are unwilling to embrace new media as part of their job, will soon be a thing of the past.  But those that can tame it to their own advantage will sail out of this “Kafquesque” world and into the future of journalism.  Whatever that may hold.

So, what do we know?  We know that the future holds blogs and it now holds my blog.  This blog will follow me as I train to become a journalist.  There will be posts on readings, media-related fancies and things that catch my eye in the world of news and that I want to rant about.  Also, every week I will also be having a gander at a photo that I think would make a good front cover for a magazine.  Controversial, interesting or just plain pretty, it will be here in all its glory.  As the weeks go on and as I learn more about design I will try and create a magazine cover that I think sums up the weeks news –  a photographic diary all nicely packaged in the form of a blog.  Beautiful.

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