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News guys -- Twitter is not your friend
By Dave Winer on Thursday, June 07, 2012 at 9:31 AM.
Everywhere I look in news, and I spend a lot of my time looking at news -- I see the industry making what I think is a fatal mistake. They seem to think Twitter is benign. As if it were the web, which of course isn't benign either, but at least it's neutral. Twitter, on the other hand, is imho a competitor to all the news organizations.  permalink
This subject came up in the session at Mesh in Toronto in May. It's not enough to understand where an entity is today. You have to factor in where they came from and use that to infer where they're going. Twitter started off being open to anyone for anything. But over time they're closing things off. Adding rules, some of which clearly anticipate competition, that limit how their service can be used. They have been taking functionality off the table. And it's a reasonable bet that that process will continue, not reverse.  permalink
A picture named pooh.gifA few years ago I was so sure that Twitter would be competing with news orgs that I urged them to start their own realtime networks to compete with Twitter. Just in case I'm right. permalink
Look at it this way. You might have thought, at the dawn of TV, that the Olympics and network television were completely separate things. Or if you were a movie-maker, you might not view your distribution system as competitive. Or pick any other activity, say political theater, where the money from the entertainment and the money from the media slosh over from one bucket into the other, some of it visible and some of it not. permalink
We're still in the early days of online distribution of news. Twitter chose a cute little icon, like Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh. But the sweetness and light will fade when Twitter gets competition. With news orgs going for very little money, and with tech networks becoming sink-holes for cash, how long before the money jumps the gap and Twitter buys a struggling news organization. Look at it this way. How long before Twitter carries exclusive content. Wouldn't it be smart to develop some options? permalink
Well, if you're waiting for the news industry to get smart about tech, my guess is you'll wait a very long time.  permalink
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