Perplexed by

If you’re using Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably seen a lot of these “dailies” pop up in your stream. Everybody with a particular interest in a particular topic seems to be publishing the “something something daily”, with a selection of news items picked up from selected accounts in their Twitter and/or Facebook stream. From the Mexican Food Daily to the Posture Office Chair Daily (!), there’s something for everyone – and more – as a quick Twitter Search will show.

The tweets reporting the daily publication of these “newspapers” are standardized, saying: “The xyz daily is out ▸ Top stories today by…” followed by a list of Twitter IDs that have “contributed” stories in that edition. The standardized form is because all these tweets originate from a common source: the site that created this new kind of media,

On the one hand, as a long time newspaper guy – writer, editor and avid reader – I like to see that the daily paper remains a reference for organizing information – and the implication that a lot of people are still looking for some organization and editing of the information they get. The fact that a site like this has popped up and is apparently gaining traction shows that there are channels that traditional media could use in the new Internet social media context, and that the traditional models of news presentation still remains relevant in certain ways. How that could inform decisions by traditional media remains to be seen, of course.

However, there are a number of problems with the way is set up. There is often a misalignment between the supposed “top stories” and what you find on the front page of a daily edition. As the quoted source for certain stories, I was regularly perplexed when trying to find what I’d supposedly contributed. In certain cases, there was nothing to be seen – so what gives?

Also, there is no clear distinction between the actual source of a story and someone who relayed it as a third, fourth, hundredth retweet. So saying “stories by…” is imprecise at best and often misleading, as far as I’m concerned. If I Tweeted a really good wine story by Dr Vino, Vinography or Eric Asimov, attributing the story to me is in very bad form, and not giving credit where credit is due. Yet clear attribution of a stated information is one of the basics of proper journalism.

I actually find it embarrassing, to a certain extent, to see my name associated to a story as if I had authored it, when I just quoted it as a reader. For instance, in a recent edition of the Savvy Sommelier Daily, I was quoted as the source of a news item about John Stewart and the Daily Show – which was in fact a retweet by me of a tweet by Roger Ebert relaying information from The Independent. I certainly didn’t immediately understand why my name was under an Independent story, until I retraced the chain of tweets. Quoting Roger Ebert would have made a little bit of sense – quoting me did not.

In that respect, actually contributes to the confusion in information that social media can sometimes instill, when its stated goal is actually to organize and clarify information flowing through the social media streams. You’ll notice on the homepage that (at the time of “printing” this story, at least), the web site claims to be in Alpha mode, not even Beta, so maybe improvements will come. And if information is properly relayed on these paperless newpapers, that would be news worth headlining, indeed.

This entry was posted in English and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted 30/12/2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    This too shall pass. 😉

    • admin
      Posted 30/12/2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Sauf que ça sera plus difficile d’emballer le poisson avec l’édition de la veille. 😉

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>