Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Twitter tiff

New South Wales Greens are demanding an investigation into Carmel Tebbutt's use of a commercial Twitter service provided free as part of "Keep Carmel" during the recent state election campaign, which saw incumbent Tebbutt prevail over Greens challenger Fiona Byrne. According to Greens MP John Kaye the value of this free service greatly exceeded the $1,000 limit on in-kind donations:
This is no automatic post on Twitter. This is a well worked out campaign with at least seven tweets a day over a 54-day period.

That would require one person to be working at least full time, if not more people. That's worth well more than $17,700.
A value of almost $47 each for maximum 140 character tweets is maybe just a bit high.

Update Full-time tweeter Antony Loewenstein live-tweeted last night's Marrickville Council BDS meeting but neglected to mention this notable event:
A Jewish blogger and pro-Palestinian rights activist, Antony Loewenstein, said he was spat on on his way in and called a pig.
A subsequent exchange of tweets:

Only 140 characters and Loewenstein still mangles the language.

Update II Another contorted "sex with a horse" post from Jeremy Sear:
The point I wanted to make is that a tweet’s context is essential. Tweets are essentially like an SMS conversation open to any interested parties. Many twitter apps in fact display these exchanges as conversations – with back and forth remarks amongst the parties clearly developing a thread as the conversation proceeds. Because there are only 140 characters available, ideas have to be contracted (sometimes losing – or, worse, gaining – something in the contraction) and it has to be assumed that the reader is familiar with what went before. There is no room to quote previous comments.

Like in any conversation, someone who comes in late needs to ask what came before to make any sense of the last thing they heard.

So journalists and newspapers that present the tweets solo, without any context, without any explanation, are doing their readers a disservice. They are misrepresenting their targets and what was actually said.
All well and good except that the Twitter exchange offers no context whatsoever for what Bess Price said on Q&A that is deemed to be more offensive than watching "sex with a horse".

Bess Price's less than outrageous comments – not linked to by Jeremy – can be viewed here.


Anonymous spot_the_dog said...

"This is no automatic post on Twitter. This is a well worked out campaign with at least seven tweets a day over a 54-day period."

I use the free application Tweetdeck, and you can indeed pre-schedule auto-tweets up to at least two weeks in advance that I know of. I've used it sometimes because of the difference in time zones between the US and Australia.

It would take all of 10 minutes to write 7 tweets, and then use the scheduler function to have them automatically sent out at different times. Or even set aside an hour to set up the entire week's worth of 7 tweets per day. Easy.

I use another free service to compile and auto-tweet a kind of "highlights" newsletter every morning (Australian time), whether I'm around or not. Once I set the parameters for choosing the tweets I want to include, there's no time investment at all.

I've never formally worked on a political campaign so I don't know what the going rate for 378 tweets is, but even if it were as much as $2 per tweet that would only bring it up to $756 total - well under the $1000 limit.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous spot_the_dog said...

Pardon me, I did mis-read his words. I thought he said "There is no automatic post on Twitter", when he said "THIS is no automatic post on Twitter..."

Not having seen the twitter-stream in question, I wouldn't know whether they're pre-scheduled or not, but I stand by my skepticism that done as a commercial enterprise, each single tweet would be worth $47.

In a non-profit I'm involved with, the gal who looks after the Twitter promotion probably sends 5 to 7 tweets per day, and it hasn't impacted on her ability to do her normal full-time job at all.

Just don't tell her the Greens are offering $47 per tweet, please - we can't compete with that. lol

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Update 2..... regardless of whether the "tweet" should be taken as a discrete entity or as a "part of a conversation", who would SAY and BROADCAST things like that anyway ?
Whether in conversation or just blurted out to the world in general ?

This is why, I say "Twitter" is for "TWITS" !

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to know what a person who watches a man have sex with horse (and tweets it!!) is doing being offered any government position anywhere anytime. It's just plain creepy...

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

I believe that is the first time Antony "Let the debate continue" Loewenstein has ever responded to, or even engaged with a critic.

Normally he just deletes their comments or ignores them altogether.

Except we know he reads it. Hello Antony, you clueless little man.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Minicapt said...

There's a song about this, by the Traveling Wilburies:


9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ant is a muppet.

11:23 PM  

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