Twitter Saves Lives! The Backlash Must be Due
Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 9 May 2008
The front page of yesterday’s Technology Guardian (which I still normally refer to as the Online Guardian) had a very positive article on Making The Most Of Twitter which opened with:
An American student is arrested in Egypt, and manages to send a brief text with a single word – “ARRESTED” – which is picked up around the world, and leads quickly to his release, helped by a lawyer hired by his university back in the US. In Britain, the prime minister’s office decides people should be able to find out what their premier is doing; as of today, more than 2,000 people do. …People fleeing from fires in California say where they are’ that proves more useful and timely than official government information.
The common factor? Twitter, the free (at present) service which lets you send a 140-character message, or “tweet”, to a site where anyone can read it
how a group of people at a presentation at the University of Richmond were suddenly told to turn off the lights and be quiet as a suspicious character with a gun had been spotted on campus. After the initial moment of fright, he relates how a number of them turned to Twitter, and how this turned out to be both soothing and useful
A great time for those early adopters of Twitter, with our commitment to initially puzzled colleagues now being vindicated in the mass media one might thing. It’s perhaps reminiscent of the excitement we felt in May 1997, perhaps the last time we felt the people were, at last, being empowered. But why do I feel that the dreaded Boris moment is lurking around the corner?
But what can we expect in the backlash. I suspect journalist have already been asked to dig for a story on the negative side of Twitter. I think we can expect the CEO of a large company (other head of the CBI would be even better) to provide figures on the amount of productivty lost due to Twitter. And, on a personal level, expect the tabloids to cover stories of the teenager who tweeted that their parents were away, and found a large horde descending on the place and vandalising the home (and I know that story was first used with MySpace as the guilty service – but we should expect such stories to be endlessly recycled).
Has anyone spotted the backlash in the press yet? And what other stories can we expect?