[Note: Non Start-Up Post, sorry, doesn't happen often, ignore this, move on, nothing to see.]
[Update: MG has another post up here discussing the reactions I have below to the first post. He makes some good points and backs things up with fact; well done. I hope, tho, we still think about accuracy being something to actually care about.]
MG Siegler has a TechCrunch Post up entitled "This is Why The Internet (And Twitter) Wins" in which he shows us all how our fancy medium and everybody's favorite golden child of the software world (Twitter) will eventually kill newspapers and TV.
The example he points to is the Tiger Woods accident. Hmm.. Let's take a step back since this doesn't exactly track.
First, comparing a newspaper to Twitter is a bit of a stretch but rather than nit pick it, let's just ignore it and assume he was making the higher level point about non-paper places for news have lots of advantages, etc, and they just add to the pile of bad news for print media. Okay, fine, noted and at that higher level, yup I'd generally agree.
But then he goes off into comparing Twitter (or more specifically BNOnews) to CNN boasting how it was on Twitter before it went up on CNN or anyplace else. And he claims the good folks at BNOnews "got it right."
Except a) it appears a local news outlet reported on it first and b) the BNOnews bulletin turns out to be wrong.
Being on Twitter first, not so sure, WESH's RSS feed sent it out and they say on their web site, they were first to report it. But, meh, who cares about 'first to report it' rather let's work on the only reason I bothered to react to his post: accuracy.
The twitter post in question:
“BULLETIN — REPORT: FAMED GOLFER TIGER WOODS SERIOUSLY INJURED AFTER CRASH NEAR FLORIDA HOME.”
Here's what MG said:
"Sure, not a lot of information there, but it’s clearly labeled as a report, and yes, it did turn out to be correct. And thanks to Twitter, thousands of people had access to this information about 45 minutes before it appeared on CNN or ESPN, the “worldwide leaders” in news in their respective fields"
Actually, it didn't turn out to be correct because the police, hospital, Tiger's website, and all those worldwide news leaders (and WESH in Florida) correctly reported this as a minor car accident. He was treated and released, is at home, probably has to explain the 2:20a speed romp down the driveway, and had the no alcohol involved report confirmed by the authorities.
You are about to type "but they got the core right, there was an accident"; don't. I acknowledge that but only to actually make my point even more forcefully.
MG further points out Google was on the case within 10 minutes with links to all the internet goodness:
"Within 15 minutes, we knew what time the crash occurred at, apparently what happened, and some other important details (like no alcohol being involved)."
If BNOnews had said Tiger Woods in car crash and popped a link over to WESH; I'm fine. If BNOnews had said Tiger Woods in car crash, details to follow; I'm good. Saying seriously injured is irresponsible and I'm not good. I'm not good because it is a very slippery slope if this disease of continuous partial attention, gimmie the 140 character version, skip the details stuff turns in to the mainstream. It means we end up with some Twitter "report" of a school bomb scare getting 'reported' as a bomb actually at the school promptly and needlessly phreaking out parents. Not good, accuracy matters and I'll take the extra time for accuracy, thank you very much.
It's a bad thing if things like CNN, the New York Times, local reporting, etc, all get reduced to who Tweets it first. It means we are on a path of being happy with insta-bits minus accounting for details.
To repeat myself, I think accuracy matters.
I'm fine with BNOnews or the lady walking her dog (at 2:20a) using Twitter to tell us what they know/saw/think. I'm not fine with confusing this stuff with "reporting" and those pesky details about serious vs. minor being ignored. MG's apparent praising of a clearly labeled report, in my view, should be the exact opposite. As MG pointed out, within 15 minutes we had 'reports' with the actual ( or official at any rate) information.
Paul Carr wrote a great piece on TechCrunch about citizen journalism. As a better writer vs. yours truly, I would suggest you go read it here. What he said.If MG's point was you'll read it electronically first before print, yup, the news radio guys have been saying the same thing about their medium over print as well. If his point was Twitter will "win" over all other sources, like those that wait minutes (!), to report actual facts; I hope he is seriously wrong.
Accuracy (and truth as Paul points out) become the first casualties in MG's world.
We now return to my normal blogging....