Week seven of the Journalism Technologies modules saw the attention turn to the social network which has the most significance over the journalism industry, Twitter, and the ways in which we, as trainee sports journalists, can use Twitter for journalistic purposes.
Firstly, in Richard’s Monday morning lecture, we learned about the history of Twitter as well as reasons for the stagnation in Twitter’s growth. These includes the rise in abuse on Twitter, and the difficulties of preventing and stopping this, and has seen Twitter lose around $2 billion during the last ten years.
In regards to its impact upon journalism, Twitter has been described as the “most useful tool since the telephone” by a former Guardian journalist, with the lecture highlighting the Hudson plane crash in 2009 as an example of users of Twitter breaking the news before the American mainstream media outlets.
In the seminar later in the day, we discussed whether Twitter could fairly be described as a “public sphere” in relation to the theory by German philosopher Jurgen Habermas. Theoretically, a wide range of users all with access to huge amounts of information should create a broad and strong debate within a public sphere. However, some may argue, in reality, the limited numbers of characters per tweet and Twitter’s reactionary tendencies mean debate is often poor.