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Summary:

At ONA, Dick Costolo promised free curation tools to help newsrooms better present the flavor of news events. That’s all well and good, but can these tools–and the ability to download your own tweets — resolve growing tensions between Twitter users and Twitter itself?

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Perhaps reacting to the growing tension in its relationship with journalists, Twitter will offer free tweet curation tools that newsrooms will be able to use to better depict the flavor or “the roar of the crowd” at live events, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said at the Online News Association conference on Friday.

According to the Poynter.org blog, Costolo said:

We have known for a long time that when events happen in the real world, the shared experience is on Twitter and we want to create an ability to curate events.

In theory this tool could be used to add more context and allow the aggregated tweets to paint a better picture of what’s really going on, focusing on the narrative rather than the noise. Think Storify or Tweetmeme only without leaving Twitter itself. (The ONA conversation is here.)

Twitter and journalists: a love-hate affair

Costolo also promised that people will be able to download their full tweet stream by year’s end, a claim that took blogging pioneer Dave Winer by surprise since Twitter has started to exercise more control over the content that runs on its service. Winer wrote:

I was amazed by this. And I don’t believe it will ever happen, or if it does it will be in GIF format or PDF, some format that makes it virtually impossible to move the data somewhere else. It would be completely inconsistent for Twitter to offer freedom to its users when it’s paying such a high price in goodwill to take away that freedom.

As Winer’s words make clear, the relationship between journalists (and other users) that rely on Twitter and Twitter itself is getting complicated.  Some of Twitter’s actions raise questions about who owns the tweetstream, the people who create and post it or Twitter itself. And, the company ‘s new API, which initially affects third-party developers could end up impacting newspapers and blogs that use it to build Twitter-based features or services. As GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram put it:

[Twitter] moves to lock down its network and control more of the content have raised some hackles in the journalism community, however, even as Twitter expands on its partnerships with select media entities such as NBC and MTV — and those stress points are only going to increase as the company’s ambitions and desire for revenue continue to grow.

Twitter wants Brady

Twitter has also been a huge platform for celebrities or would-be celebrities to build their brand and connect with fans. (As an example, Lady Gaga has more than 29 million followers.

On a lighter note at the conference, Costolo was asked what celebrity he would most like to see on Twitter. He didn’t hesitate: It’s Tom Brady. It turns out that the New England Patriots quarterback and Costolo are both University of Michigan alums. (For what it’s worth, Brady’s supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen has been tweeting for some time.)

Tom Brady photo courtey of Keith Allison

  1. Curate? Ahh, a museum of Twitter masterpieces.

    Gag me with a spoon.

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