Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

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honorentheos
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Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by honorentheos »

I'm curious how many people on this board are active on Twitter?

If possible, I'd be interested in hearing others answers to the following:

How often do you check Twitter for information?

Do you have a Twitter account?

If yes, how many people are you following?

Roughly how much of your news/information diet originates from Twitter? This could include not just Twitter being a primary source of information but also stories you were first made aware of via Twitter that led you to search out more journalistic sources.

My own answers:

How often do you check Twitter for information?
Only when someone links to it, probably 95% of that originating from here and the rest from news articles.

Do you have a Twitter account?
No.

If yes, how many people are you following?
N/A

Roughly how much of your news/information diet originates from Twitter?
Less than 5%. There are occasional links posted here that will lead me from Twitter to other sources. Otherwise it would be zero.

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huckelberry
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by huckelberry »

Honorentheos, my answers to your questions match yours.
My wife follows twitter some and on infrequent occasions she notices a story which I look up in some other source.
I find some value in this message board from people bringing up stories worth further investigation.

EAllusion
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by EAllusion »

I think this question is a bit tricky in that there is media that originates on twitter and media where twitter is merely the platform to conveniently access it. Following a newspaper's twitter vs. having a paper copy in your hand is mostly a formatting difference. It's like asking what % of your news information comes from google. In one sense, almost none of it. In another, almost all of it. It's just the road to get you to your destination. At the same time, twitter follows curates and generates content. While I can't think of any meaningful example of google providing news to me, I can think of journalists whose primary work first or more expansively exists on twitter before hitting another publication. That's closer to the sense I have for "getting news from twitter" but doesn't quite match up with your definition.

In short, this is a real tough question to answer.

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by EAllusion »

One of the wild things about twitter is that, since many journalists are there having conversations, you get a kind of window into who knows their stuff and who are idiots are in a way that really didn't exist prior to the advent of this kind of technology. This meta-news provides context to news in a way that is hard to replicate elsewhere.

In terms of news I get either because it was broken directly via twitter or because it was obscure sans twitter's amplification, I'd guess maybe 20%?

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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

How often do you check Twitter for information?

- Only when someone links to a Twitter post. I never go to Twitter to peruse it for information.

Do you have a Twitter account?

- I do because for whatever reason I can't see Twitter unless I'm logged into an account. I don't really get it.

If yes, how many people are you following?

- Zero. Heh.

Roughly how much of your news/information diet originates from Twitter? This could include not just Twitter being a primary source of information but also stories you were first made aware of via Twitter that led you to search out more journalistic sources.

- I'm not really sure because so many articles link to tweets. It's really an uncertain quantity to me.

> Doc

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by EAllusion »

I don't watch cable news that often, but when I do so, I never do it for purposes of learning about the news. If I seek it out intentionally, it's to see the content and tone of coverage to understand what people are watching and how the media a large % of people consume is treating it. I'm not after news so much as news about the news. It's a small % of whatever it is I'm taking in, but I don't even know how to enter that into a question like this.

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Some Schmo
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by Some Schmo »

My answers are essentially the same as yours, honor, although I'd say the percentage of my time there is even lower. They lost me with the names years ago (twitter and tweet... ____ off). Besides, actually limiting the number of characters is enforcing a kind of shorthand laziness that I am not down with, not when it comes to language syntax. I'm often distracted by the ____ writing, and I think it's fair to say that it's partially foisted on people by the platform. I see some people try to make the best of it, but if you're trying to communicate things precisely, it's better to avoid twitter at all costs. We're not birds.

I regret the small amount of time I spent on Facebook, and I refuse to make the same mistake with twitter. The vast majority of tweets I see are embedded in other web pages, news articles mostly.

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by Gunnar »

My answers too are essentially the same as honor's. I have neither a twitter account nor a Facebook account, though my daughter interacts regularly with Facebook -- mostly with her friends and other family members scattered across the country. She is good about sharing interesting feedback from our extended family and other sources with me, and I appreciate that. I won't rule out ever establishing a Facebook account of my own, though. I haven't decided whether or not I really want to do that yet.

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Jersey Girl
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by Jersey Girl »

I don't have a Twitter account. The only time I really see what's on there is if someone links to it from here. I sometimes check on what Trump is saying so I can see it for myself instead of taking it as gospel second hand.

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by Some Schmo »

Jersey Girl wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 1:54 pm
I don't have a Twitter account. The only time I really see what's on there is if someone links to it from here. I sometimes check on what Trump is saying so I can see it for myself instead of taking it as gospel second hand.
Trump is the one person whose words have a better chance than anyone's of becoming more accurate if paraphrased by someone else.

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by Res Ipsa »

I have a Twitter account, but never used it much until COVID-19. I follow 10-20 epidemiologists, virologists, infectious disease specialists, public health specialists, modelers, and ER and ICU docs who treat COVID. I read once or twice a day to get information on new preprints and information on the spread and effect of the virus.

I have a smattering of assorted people I follow for idiosyncratic reasons. But the only reason I spend time reading is COVID-19.

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by I have a question »

In diet terms Twitter is completely empty calories.

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honorentheos
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by honorentheos »

Thanks, all. I appreciate the insight into how widely and diversely the community uses Twitter as an information source...or not.

I became curious about this while reading the thread discussing Elon Musk's recent Twitter activity. Seeing the various reactions to the tweet led me to wonder how the diverging views overlaid with how one otherwise engaged with Twitter as a platform. Not that it means anything concrete, it did raise the question of how much that particular media informed the message...or at least how it was received.

EAllusion - the point that it serves as a window into the discussions between journalists is interesting. I'm curious how many you actively follow on Twitter and if this observation comes from following certain journalists? Or you happened on it through other means?

EAllusion
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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by EAllusion »

I follow 30ish journalists directly and there's a network of journalists that you end up checking in on because of various stories that touch them or because they interface with what you are reading directly. Some journalists are really sharp people; others are as dumb as a box of rocks. Some have solid domain expertise, others are solid generalists, others seem to have no real expertise at all. And there's a lot of variety in-between. It's often what you'd expect: Andrew Kaczynski is sharp on a variety of subjects and supports himself well; Chris Cilliza is a moron. But sometimes you're surprised.

People are more obvious about their biases and weak spots, and their interactions tell you how they understand and treat criticism. All of this provides context from the news that, if nothing else, helps explain why it gets written the way it does, and can provide insight into why it is so good in some areas and so bad in others. In this regard, Twitter is a giant message board, and it turns out all the people writing the news are posters.

Most of my twitter news consumption is from following specific publications or experts on a specific subject I might be interested in. For that, twitter is basically just a search engine that's good at that particular task but can be replicated elsewhere. But there's no real replacement for this other part. Twitter is basically the more modern version of the blogosphere that faded away.

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Re: Twitter: How Important is it to Ones Media Diet?

Post by EAllusion »

I haven't written about it here, but Nate Silver has been absolutely embarrassing himself by acting as though he is lay-expert on epidemiology on twitter. It's made for some cringey reading at times. It's not all bad, but man is he so obviously out of his depth.

I'm not an expert in the subject, but I know enough to spot egregious errors in his commentary. He's just interacting with popular material rather than trying to build up a foundation of knowledge to contextualize it. He isn't doing his homework to understand the field. There's now a wave of people complaining about Silver's fake expertise on this subject on twitter where many of those people are saying he should stick to politics and sports. Aside from poll-based political forecasting and statistical analysis, his political punditry has always felt like smarter Chris Cillizza to me, where he postures in depth study but doesn't seem to show the real signs of it, and I'm coming to the idea that this is just who he is in general.

Thanks to this, I think I'll have more of a raised eyebrow when Silver writes articles on data analysis on subjects I understand not as clearly. Watching him so clearly mistake naïve data analysis for genuine understanding of a subject makes it easier to see how he might do that elsewhere.

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