I was going to use the title "Watching the Watchers" or "Twitter on trial, trial on Twitter" or something else that would have them rolling in the aisles but I need to explain to you that lady bloggers like myself are a Bad Thing and you should turn away from your screen immediately lest you are contaminated.
I'm not fond of Twitter. I would rather watch paint dry. I find it useful for news about cruises and local travel and events. I follow a few interesting people including journalists who are personal friends of mine. It has also been invaluable during the Oscar Pistorius trial as I can follow what's going on when the sound drops out. I've made a few friends and we've enjoyed discussing some legal aspects. Enjoyed is no doubt the wrong word but you know what I mean. Intelligent conversation is a treasure wherever you find it.
Here's what journalists and other commentators do during the trial:
1) They report what's being said by all parties. Some type very fast and it's verbatim - a bit weird when there's a time delay in the sound - some paraphrase slightly. Some report everything, some do summaries. Some retweet other commentators, some don't.
2) Some engage in conversations with other tweeters replying to their posts. Some don't, either because everything is happening very fast or they don't choose to. It's their choice.
Liezl Thom is a great example of how it should be done. She gives you reliable information, she answers questions and even takes time to clarify what the question is when it's not clear. OK, that was me not phrasing the question very well... She's polite, she's experienced, she's very professional, she thinks and reacts quickly but accurately and she understands how social media works. I expect there are many, many journalists doing the same thing in the same professional manner, it's impossible to see what they're all doing.
You have to use social media properly or not at all. You need to engage with your followers. They will, after all, answer each other's questions a lot of the time and who knows when they will give you an insight into something you missed when it's all happening very fast. It should be pretty obvious that you shouldn't be rude to people!
Today I was told to "**** off" by a professional journalist in a conversation that his thousands of followers could read. My asterisks, he didn't give me or anyone else reading it the courtesy of asterisks!
What?? What did I say? The discussion was about allowing a live stream of the pathologist's evidence. I remarked that only by hearing it will we know the media reports are correct. Now, I might well have phrased this badly. It was meant to be objective, it wasn't an accusation that the media make it up. Maybe I should have said "One might consider that ..." in front of it. He could easily have ignored me.
As this conversation went on my comment was deemed casual and tedious and another delightful tweeter called me a "blogging misguided bimbo". Misguided blogging bimbo would surely have been neater? Misguided bimbo-esque blogger?
Did I get it wrong about Blogger? Is it only available to men? Only
available to journalists? Do we need a Venn diagram? Is there a form I
was supposed to fill it to qualify to be a blogger? Maybe I should look
behind the bread bin.
I was asked "How much money have you made from journalism then?" What?? My Twitter header clearly says I'm an accountant so what does that mean? A good man jumped in to defend me and sensibly suggested I block a couple of idiots. A few journalist friends sent swift "Get him, Sharon!" messages with helpful hints on how to complain. Oh, yes, I do make money in a secondary way from journalism as my practice specialises in media clients...
I was a bit cross with myself for selecting good people to follow on Twitter then clearly getting it wrong but mostly I was shocked that someone making one comment can be attacked by an alleged professional.
Bimbo is the mot du jour. OK, I'm going to confess that I might have used that word about a witness reapplying lipstick on the witness stand but who does that? A filler piece in the "Let's not give them any more publicity" newspaper, written in the time-honoured "Let's grab our homework essay from the internet" style derided the "Pistorians". I've never been quite sure of the definition but apparently these are a Bad Thing. Then it had a go at the Support For Oscar Pistorius website and Facebook page. I have every admiration for the people running this but I'm not actually part of it so I'm not sure why my name was thrown in there, along with incorrect hometown (relevance?) which is what happens when you grab your information from Facebook, whose hometown deal does not allow for peeps who move about.
The comments all declared us to be bimbos. Of course they did. How come every woman who believes Oscar is entitled to a fair trial is a bimbo? What, pray, is the male equivalent - or is it assumed that all men think he's guilty? Who writes all this junk?
I'll get back to cleaning the kitchen. Blogging might give me the vapours.