As you’d be aware, Dear Reader, I am a champion of social media.
(Don’t misread me. That doesn’t mean I am a champion, per se. Don’t cue Queen music. It means I like to stand up for social media. Mmmkay?)
So I think it’s a good thing when the ‘traditional media’ (newspapers, TV, radio) takes notice of social media and tries to use it. The more, the merrier.
But I’m in two minds about a new trend of printing tweets.
AdelaideConfidential recently joined The Adelaide* Magazine in printing selected Twitter status updates. In the case of AdelaideConfidential, this began just yesterday – 4 January – with a single reprint of a celebrity tweet. The Adelaide* Magazine has been doing this for some months, and tends to reprint a range of South Australians’ tweets.
The Australian’s @sally_jackson has been writing a Twitter column for some months now. Printed in the Media section, Sally’s column analyses Twitter trends, major topics of the past week and often reprints tweets. These are however all within context and make for educational and snappy reading.
I think there are some pros and cons to reprinting tweets …
Pros of printing tweets:
- Raises the profile of Twitter and social media
- Raises the profile of the Twitterer
- Draws another community of thought into mainstream media
- Twitter becomes another source for the media, and it’s a positive thing for them to have many and varied sources to draw upon
Cons of printing tweets:
- Tweets may be out of context and lose all meaning
- Tweets out of context can cast ridicule on the Twitterer, on Twitter and social media in general
- Tweets are usually part of a very topical conversation – most don’t translate well, especially printed weeks later
- While tweets are ‘published’ and in the public realm, I’m not sure that many authors would expect to see their tweets in the mainstream press. Within a different context, platform, and before a different audience, it has potential to unfairly embarrass the author.
- They have the potential to annoy non-Twitter users (this may be a Pro point).
What about ownership of content? Who owns the tweet? While a tweet is in the public realm (unless it’s from a locked account), most social media platforms have terms and conditions which state they own the contributed content. But interestingly, this is what Twitter has to say:
“This license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. But what’s yours is yours – you own your content.”
Twitter also says:
“We encourage and permit broad re-use of Content. The Twitter API exists to enable this.”
“Twitter respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of the Services to do the same. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us.”
So, is the mainstream press ‘allowed’ to print our tweets? I don’t have the answer, but am keen to receive your comments.
Do I need to add a disclaimer? Maybe. One of my tweets was printed in The Adelaide* Magazine’s latest summer edition. After a straw poll among some non-tweeters, it was evident they didn’t have a clue what my tweet meant. My tweet was a comment on a trending topic and had lost context when printed weeks later. I am not complaining –I was happy to be in there – but it probably didn’t work for the magazine’s wider, non-tweeting readers.