Why Twitter matters
Miami Herald Pulitzer Prize winner Leonard Pitts Jr. recently penned a column denouncing people who use Twitter as having nothing significant to say.
Not surprisingly, Pitts was denounced by hundreds of Tweeters as having nothing significant to say.
In fact, the most significant part of Pitts’ column was what he didn’t say: That he is a perfect example of why newspapers are dying.
Instead of utilizing Twitter as a means to increase readership, Pitts chose to write it off as a passing fad that regretfully has seeped into levels as high as the White House Administration.
Pitts also has demonstrated an unfavorable view towards bloggers, writing them off as amateurish and not worthy of publication, according to an interview with Miami blogger Random Pixels.
Most blogs strike me as bits of unpolished, undigested thought, something you dash off as opposed to something you really write.
This is the same pompous attitude displayed by many newspapers during the internet explosion of the late 1990s, which is why many newspapers are now clawing to survive.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Herald neglected to advance or cover Bar Camp Miami last month, even though they were actually in attendance of the web-related conference.
I am far from a tech geek, but I saw the news value in it when I covered it for Miami Beach 411. It turns out, the organizers didn’t need the Herald to promote the event because they had Twitter.
If Pitts had done his research, he would have learned that Twitter has served many functions, including spreading the word when an American photographer and his translator were arrested last year in Egypt for photographing an anti-government protest.
On April 10, 2008, James Buck, a graduate journalism student at UC Berkeley, and his translator, Mohammed Maree, were arrested in Egypt for photographing an anti-government protest. On his way to the police station Buck used his mobile phone to send the message “Arrested” to his 48 “followers” on Twitter. Those contacted UC Berkeley, the US Embassy in Cairo, and a number of press organizations on his behalf. Buck was able to send updates about his condition to his “followers” while being detained. He was released the next day from the Mahalla jail after the college hired a lawyer for him.
Had Buck waited until the mainstream decided to write a story on his arrest, he would still be in jail.
I am a multimedia journalist who has been fighting a lengthy legal battle after having photographed Miami police against their wishes in Feb. 2007. Please help the fight by donating to my Legal Defense Fund in the top left sidebar. To keep updated on the latest articles, join my networks at Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed.