I wanted to use a quick quote from Zach Seward as a launching pad for a discussion about what social media gets right.
“Early morning is a really nice time on Twitter. As in a greasy spoon, there are regulars sitting in their assigned seats, people like David Wessel and Kelly Evans at the Journal, Jim Roberts at the Times, and Heidi Moore at Marketplace…”
Those words come from an interview with the news.me blog, as part of that website’s ongoing “Getting the News” series.
It hearkens back to the notion of coffeehouses of the 17th and 18th centuries as forums for informal discussions of the day. This concept is nothing new, of course, but it’s interesting to note – especially as a news junkie who spends an inordinate amount of time reading and sharing news on Twitter (or Facebook).
Twitter, as an interest-driven social network, achieves this coffeehouse mentality very well. As a reader, you come to associate particular genres of news or news brands with specific writers.
I’d rather follow a particular journalist than the organization (etc.) for whom he or she works (although I follow plenty of outlets like The New York Times or Slate).
So, to really make this discussion worthwhile, the task of maintaining and curating a robust roster of “followees” becomes quite important. Who do you trust to deliver relevant news with just the right amount of acerbic wit. Likewise, who would you like to sit next to at the coffeehouse: the Tom Waits-looking fellow who tends to spout engaging, thoughtful conversation points that make you think or that guy in the corner with one hand in his pants and the other in the pocket of the closest government official?
It comes back to the tried-and-true element of trust and credibility in news reporting. And, with “social” being the phrase du jour, the onus is placed squarely on the head of the journalist/blogger/innocent bystander who’s willing to put their neck on the line for the goddamned sanctity of journalism.