An article in Sunday’s Daily Mail picked out how celebrities are now using Twitter to communicate with other users of the service and talking about “the most mundane aspects of their lives”. You’ll notice i’ve not linked to the piece for reasons explained later on.
The article says: ” Millionaire celebrities, you might imagine, lead riveting lives, full to the brim with excitement and derring-do.
But the website Twitter – one of the web’s fastest-growing phenomena – has cast a fascinating light on just how mundane, not to say downright dull, the day-to-day existence of many stars really is.
Twitter, a social networking site, allows its six million users to broadcast their every move to the watching world through 140-character messages sent via the web or their mobile phone.
Since ‘twittering’ revolves around talking about yourself, it’s no surprise that it has been embraced by celebrities and politicians – but most of their posts would be worthy of the most tedious dinner-party bore.”
The piece goes on to mock John Cleese and his liking for German mustard, numerous Tweets from Jonathan Ross (again), Stephen Fry, and Will Carling. Indeed, It’s not the first time that the paper has used Twitter to generate a news article about Jonathan Ross. On two seperate occassions, December 19th and 29th the newspaper published ‘news’ about how JR was spending his time in suspension triggered by the Andrew Sachs affair, taking comments from Twitter.
The Daily Mail, first published a piece about Twitter on July 24th, in which Mark Prigg, a highly respected tech journalist, wrote a perfectly normal review type piece which followed the announcement from Twitter that the service had seen a 600% increase in use. The Daily Mail then included a quote from Andy Murray following his victory against Rafael Nadal in this September’s US Open.
In an amusing development, an unknown user has now created a dailymail_UK username and started sending out Tweets pretending to be from the newspaper – all very tongue in cheek.
The Daily Mail are already reknowned for their less than flattering Facebook views, and it seems they are quickly finding a new target to point their anti-new technology stick at.
I can see three possible reasons for this:
1) Their editorial guidelines ask their journalists to find stories that are poking fun at, or finding something wrong with, the new generation of communication devices ie, not newspapers, as sales slowly decline. It is worth remembering how Twitter was reporting the Denver plane crash before blogs and websites, letalone newspapers.
2) The audience that the DM are trying to reach are uncomfortable with new technology, so instead of encouraging them to embrace it, they find that it is easier to let their audience believe that it is detrimental to our society.
3) The Daily Mail, are very good at SEO (search engine optimisation) and the quick hits that they will get from the links on blogs and other websites will help with their google page ranking.
This is not an issue that will go away, especially as Twitter becomes increasingly mainstream, and it will be intriguing to see if the Daily Mail’s viewpoint shifts as Twitter’s popularity goes skyward, or if the paper becomes even more entrenched in it’s views while the rest of us get on with it.