Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All the Tweets That're Fit to Print!

In this age of Twitter and Facebook, instant feedback is king.  Even for the more reluctant (such as myself), it is fascinating (not to mention addictive) to see what people around the world are thinking and saying right now.  (Unfortunately, this knowledge often doesn't do much for your faith in humanity, but that's another matter entirely.)

As always, people are jostling to keep up with the times.  No-one wants to be left behind.  This carries over into the business world, too.  Which is fine.  It's just one more way to keep in touch with customers and let everyone know what you do and how well you do it. 

And then there's the local news. 

I don't know if this is happening everywhere, but I suspect it's a widespread phenomenon.  At least one of our local news channels makes a habit of incorporating into their stories the tweets and Facebook comments of random people who respond to the channel's own tweets and Facebook writings.  This inclusion would seem to indicate that the news writers think these comments are newsworthy.  You might be surprised how rarely this is the case (or then again, maybe you wouldn't be).  Instead, what you get is a telegraphic version of the old "sound off" columns in your average small-town newspaper.  It's pointless.  It's not even news!

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about. There's a story about a benefit concert that's going to take place soon.  The tickets were available for free, and apparently they disappeared within ten minutes of becoming available (only to pop up later for sale on eBay, etc.). 

Part of the story went as follows:
Shortly after posting that the tickets were gone on [news channel]'s Facebook page, several viewers vented their frustrations.

[Random Local Male] commented: "grrrrrrrr I wanted tickets." 

[Random Local Female] added: "Many of us southerners who waited for hours online only to miss out on tickets are extremely pissed...."
Wow, that's some earth-shattering news, right there.  I 'specially liked the "grrrrrrrr" part.  ;o) Why not just write that people were upset that they didn't get a chance at a ticket, only to find them snapped up by people who intend to profit by them?  (Is it even necessary to say that much?  It seems fairly obvious.)

I don't know why this is so particularly irritating to me.  It's not that much different from the silly polls they've been doing for years.  I suppose it's not even worse than when they go out and interview people at random, trying to get "reaction" to this or that story.  But for whatever reason, it just elicits my very best eye roll.