Twittering through Campaign 2008

Is this the Twitter campaign? The Times reports that both reporters and politicians are embracing Twitter as a way to get rapid fire messages to audiences.

Is this the Twitter campaign? The Times reports that both reporters and politicians are embracing Twitter as a way to get rapid fire messages to audiences.

On the politician side, we've known this for quite a while. Internet-heavy candidates like John Edwards and Ron Paul have been twittering since the early days. The problem is that cheerleading is somewhat less interesting than actual information (that's my problem with Twitter in general.) Apparently, twittering by journalists is only marginally more interesting than that by candidates.

Spending time with the Twittered campaign reporting can mean wallowing in skin-deep observations, anonymous trashing of candidates and more than you would want to know about the food and travel conditions for the reporting class.

But it is genuine, and at times enlightening, which is more than you can say for the candidates themselves, who have also taken to using Twitter to update their supporters. (The septuagenarian Ron Paul, for example, is an ardent Twitter user, it appears, though he has a penchant for exclamation points that would make a teenager blush. Typical Ron Paul Twitter message: “Thus far in the race, I’ve received more votes than Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani. Freedom is popular!”)

But now some journalists are embracing this tiny messaging solution. What better way, after all, to send in dispatches from the trail? Still, one wonders what disdainful spew Hunter S. Thompson would direct at twittering journalists. So far, it seems, only one little story has managed to emerge from twitter-land into the realm of news: a message by John Dickerson that Bill O'Reilly was pushing around Obama staffers.

In the age of the rapidly fading news business, organizations that fancy themselves hip to the now generation embrace everything and hope something sticks.

“If you tell people how to consume their content, they will ignore you,” Josh Tyrangiel, the managing editor of Time.com, said, a truism that experience had taught new-media executives. “Let people do what they want to do and try to be in their circle of choice.”

Still the last word goes to Dickerson: "What's needed is a blog about video of someone twittering about a twittering journalist reading twitter story."

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