Posts Tagged ‘twitter’


With Every Tweet and Flickr Photo, White House Shows Us Their Human Side

March 24, 2010

Originally published at Mediaite.

In case you missed it yesterday, the White House released a new album of Flickr photos of the last year in health reform that has been burning up the internet.  My Twitter feed today has been filled with people ooh-ing and aah-ing over the photos.

White House photographer Pete Souza captures a glimpse of behind-closed-doors moments at the White House from this past week and the past year as the White House worked to pass the health care bill — and they are, well, heartwarming. We see Hillary Clinton hugging President Obama; White House staffers cheering, applauding, and hugging as they watched Congress vote on the bill late Sunday night; Obama fist-bumping a young doctor who grins ear-to-ear; Nancy Pelosi holding her grandson and grinning next to Obama a day before the historic House vote.


Flickr is not a new tool; people have been using it to share their important moments with friends and family for years. But the Obama White House is the first White House to use Flickr to share their photos and are publicly documenting private moments that, until now, had remained hidden from the American people.

On another note, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also recently got on Twitter and though he started off slow, he has adjusted to the medium pretty quickly. This morning he cracked jokes with the rest of the Twitterverse, telling his followers that this video of a misguided White House staffer who bears a resemblance to Gibbs was most definitely not him. And then, perhaps most notably, after the historic bill-signing ceremony today, Gibbs responded to Vice President Biden’s earlier f-bomb in his excitement over the health care bill with a tweet remarking “Yes, Mr. Vice President, you’re right…”

Read the rest here.


Can Twitter Help Raise Awareness for Gaza?

December 27, 2009

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the 22-day Israeli military raid on Gaza. Gaza, one of the two Palestinian territories currently under Israeli occupation.

I know Gaza is not a topic of polite cocktail party or happy hour conversation for most people. Most people probably aren’t quite aware of where Gaza is (here is a map for that), especially since it’s a tiny territory that’s only about 139 square miles on the coast of the Mediterranean.

So it is probably not widely known that one year ago, Israeli military forces killed 1,400 Palestinians, of which over 900 were civilians and over 300 were children. And considerable damage was done to Gazan roads, houses, and infrastructure — most of which has still not been repaired.

The UN Secretary General has acknowledged that Gaza is currently suffering from a dire human rights crisis. Since the attacks last year, the UN says, Gazans have been denied basic human rights and have been denied the resources to rebuild their infrastructure.

The mainstream media has hardly reported on the ongoing crisis there.  They’re focused on other stories — whatever sells the most papers or the most advertising, I guess.

So human rights activists around the world are using unconventional channels to air their concerns about the lasting human rights crisis in Gaza — they’re mounting a Twitter campaign to raise awareness. Buoyed by the success of the Iran election activists, who tweeted their observations about the controversial Iranian election and subsequent protests using the hashtag #iranelection, and capured the world’s attention — now Palestinian activists are hoping to start a movement of their own using Twitter as their primary tool of communication.

Their hashtag is #gaza, and today, December 27, from 3 pm – 7 pm GMT, they are encouraging everyone they know to tweet using the hashtag #gaza in the hopes of making Gaza the #1 trending topic on Twitter — which is no easy feat, given the millions of people using Twitter everyday.

The topic was already trending even before the campaign was scheduled to start at 3 pm GMT. It hasn’t hit #1 yet, but has been in the trending topics all day Sunday as Twitter users from all over the world share their thoughts, hopes, and fears for Gaza. The hope, of course, is to generate attention from the mainstream media and the larger public similar to the way the Iranian election protesters did.

The power of a trending topic, however, may seem silly to some but should not be underestimated.  Getting a campaign’s hashtag in the trending topics on Twitter makes the tag visible to everyone visiting — bringing the topic into the public consciousness and into the forefront of discussion. Twitter users who aren’t already aware of the issue will, hopefully, click on the trending topic to learn more about it — and maybe even choose to join in.

(images: Jillian York and Global Voices Online)

Will it work? We’ll know this week. My hope is that bloggers will start to pick up the story first as they notice that #Gaza has been sitting in the trending topics on Twitter all day, and then mainstream media should take a cue from political bloggers and start to report on it as well.

You can view all the #gaza tweets here.


Quick hit: Mainstream Media Using Twitter Lists

November 9, 2009

I know no one wants to read another boring post about “Top 10 ways to use Twitter lists” so I promise this isn’t that. I just wanted to highlight what I think is a very innovative use of Twitter lists by the mainstream media – probably the last people I’d expect to have found an innovative way to use Twitter lists this quickly.

Several mainstream media organizations, particularly the New York Times, have been using Twitter lists to group together users live-tweeting details about a breaking news story from on-the-ground locations. Over the past weeks, they’ve had lists for the Ft. Hood shooting and the Orlando shooting. On a lighter note, they’ve got lists for the World Series, food policy, and DC politics, among others. An interesting thing about these lists is many of the NYT-created lists include not only bloggers, but reporters from other mainstream media outlets. I guess that’s just one of the many ways new media is subtly changing the way old media works.

DC politics


Patrick Swayze: A Reminder That All News Is Going Social

September 15, 2009

An exchange between myself and my roommate tonight (she works in publishing).

Roommate: I just heard Patrick Swayze died today. I can’t believe it!

Me: I can’t believe it either. I heard about it the instant the story broke on Twitter. I don’t even need to read the news anymore because the second it happens, everyone starts talking about it.

Roommate: See from a publishing standpoint, that’s terrible! I don’t even use Twitter.

Me: Where did you hear the news?

Roommate: NPR.

Me: Oh, that’s good.

Roommate: Well, that was actually only because someone posted it on Facebook.

Kind of makes you wonder…what is going to happen to the news? Where will it be in five years? Will it just become secondary to social media?


Progressives Launch a Twitter Directory, Republicans Launch a Social Network

August 31, 2009

Last week, progressive activists Tracy Viselli, Jim Gilliam, Gina Cooper, and Jon Pincus launched, a directory of progressives on Twitter with the goal of helping progressives better organize online.

Also last week, Republicans launched a new Republicans-only social networking site, Republicanville, with the goal of helping Republicans better connect and organize online.

Which tool will achieve its stated goals of helping its community better organize themselves online, connect with each other, and use Twitter for activism and organizing? Obviously I’m biased in which one I want to see succeed.

TweetProgress already has had 3,000 Twitter users sign up, including Al Gore, Rachel Maddow, and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, among others. Conservatives on Twitter have long been organizing through use of the #tcot hashtag, which even progressives admit has given conservatives the upper hand when it comes to organizing via Twitter.


Republicanville, on the other hand, claims to be a social network “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Founded by Republicans Stryker Lampe and Charles A. Jense, the website states that their “fundamentals are based on fiscal conservatism with the ideals of smaller government, low taxes, stronger defense and capitalism. We welcome all types of Republicans + Independents & Libertarians.” It seems similar to Facebook — albums, profiles, groups, blogs, and in addition: a Republican job board. I haven’t seen enough coverage of it yet to find out more about what their goals are, or how many people have joined since their launch. It also begs the question: does the internet really need another social networking site?

reoublicanvilleI will definitely be paying attention to see how these two new tools fare over the next few weeks and how they will affect both sides’ ability to organize online.


David Gregory is not a blogger

August 2, 2009

david-gregory-meet-the-press_thumbBefore I get to the point of this post, I feel I should say one thing: David Gregory is a great journalist whom I respect a lot. And I still get up to watch Meet the Press every Sunday morning!

But, respected journalist that he is, David Gregory is not a blogger. A few months ago when he became the host of Meet The Press, he started a blog and a Twitter account. And everyone fawned all over him and how great he was at “embracing new media,” something that old-media journalists love to talk about doing.

Has anyone else but me checked out David Gregory’s blog recently? I will admit when I heard the MTP host was starting a blog I went and subscribed right away. But lately, his blog is just a stream of once-a-week posts of  “some reads this morning” highlighting a couple articles he’s reading each morning.

That’s great, but that’s what GOOGLE NEWS is for. And Memeorandum. And RealClearPolitics. A famous journalist, talk show host, and political media personality should have a real blog, not simply a regurgitation of any political news aggregator. People actually listen to this guy — or at least pay attention to what he says — so can’t he say something useful on his blog?

(It’s kind of like how social media people got annoyed when Oprah got on Twitter, because she has such a huge audience and everyone fawns over the fact that she’s on Twitter, but she doesn’t really use it! I take issue with David Gregory’s blog for the same reasons.)

I’m not saying he should have a blog. He’s wildly successful enough in his career already that he can do whatever he wants. But what I am saying is this: if he’s going to publicly try to embrace new media by starting a blog and using Twitter, he should actually do it well, not half-ass it. A collection of “what I’m reading” lists is not a blog.


Twitter turns the Sotomayor hearings into sports for nerds

July 16, 2009

This week, the Sotomayor hearings have begun. I don’t know how much this historic event is on everyone else’s minds around the country, although I hear that only 43% of Americans even know who Sotomayor is. Which means most Americans could care less about the confirmation hearings. But I live in Washington, so it’s the talk of the town this week. Oh, and the talk of Tweeters the world over.

Since I can’t just watch TV all day at work (although I did keep CSPAN on in the background on mute for effect!), Twitter has been my primary source of coverage of the Sotomayor hearings. And really, when you have Twitter, who needs C-SPAN? I have learned everything I need to know about the Sotomayor hearings from the oft-loathed Twitter. Old media, you should be worrying.


Day 1: Monday

10:54 am: LeslieBradshaw: RT @kbladow RT @blogdiva & @TheRootBuzz & @BreakingNews: An abortion protester was removed from Sotomayor’s hearing. #sotoshow

11:18 am: LeslieSanchez: OMG – who taught Sen. Schumer how to say #Sotomayor. Stop, please

12 pm: HumanFolly: What’s up w/ all the sports metaphors in the Sotomayor hearing? #sportsbias

12:13 pm: AnaMarieCox: Coburn endorses SS as “a better judge than some but not as good as others.” Well, said, Dr. Obvious.

2:32: mikemadden: Abortion protesters getting very half-hearted: Lady yells, “You’re wrong, Sotomayor,” but she was already on her way out of the room.

2:58: AmandaCarpenter: Sotomayor’s mom is crying. I remember Alito’s wife crying for much different reasons the last time we confirmed a judge.

3:04: AmandaCarpenter: #Sotoshow is over! Chris Matthews says he knows he shouldn’t say this, but he’s “feeling one of those thrills again” No joke.

Day 2: Tuesday

11:15 am: HowardKurtz: Sotomayor says Roe is settled law. That is a big deal. Most of the cable channels weren’t live and are now going back to it.

11:16: NishaChittal: Something tells me the right-wing blogosphere is going to go nuts over this “settled law” comment.

11:44: AnaMarieCox: #sotoshow DISCUSSION OF NUNCHUCKS FTW!

11:45 am: cbellantoni: Nunchucks sticks FTW! #sotoshow “If there’s anybody near you, you are going to be seriously injured.”

11:50 am: JonHenke: I only regret that David Carradine couldn’t have lived to see this. And perhaps testify. With nunchucks. #sotoshow

12pm: mikemadden: Reasons the media is dying, part 3,872: Can’t even agree on how to spell “nunchucks.”

12:23: MotherJones: Dem staffers are circulating rebuttal points in real time to GOP questions. War room in high gear. #sotomayor

2:15 pm: GottaLaff: Grassley: “People always say I have the ability to turn people on”

3:12 pm: jdickerson: Sotomayor about Obama’s 5 percent rule: “I wouldn’t approach the view of judging the way the president does.”

4:24 pm: stevemlucas I don’t know enough about NYC, but did Schumer really need to ask Mets or Yankees at a confirmation hearing? lol

4:43: rkref: Graham is wiggling in his seat like a little boy who needs to go potty. #Sotomayor #Sotoshow

4:44: rkref: What is Graham doing with these questions about 9/11. She lives blocks from ground zero, asshat. She wasn’t in SOUTH CAROLINA on 9/11.

4:46: rkref: Does Sen. Graham think she’s been nominated to be head of the CIA? DOD, perhaps? #Sotomayor #Sotoshow

4:46: mikemadden: Lindsey Graham’s questions to #Sotomayor were, basically: Why does everyone hate you? Aren’t you lucky you’re not white? Isn’t al-Qaida bad?

4:47: rkref: More misleading attacks by Graham. As a board member, she had nothing to do with the cases selected by the PRLDF or the briefs. #Sotoshow

5:52 pm: rkref: Roger Simon says Lindsey Graham was a condescending gamecock today bc Rush Limbaugh beat him up on his show. Pathetic.

Day 3: Wednesday

9:30 am: CitizenCassidy: Coffee + John Cornyn talking about white firefighters = #BreakfastOfChampions. #Sotomayor

9:45 am: rkref: Cornyn trying to get #Sotomayor to say “UNCLE” — disavow it! Repent! Sin no more! #Sotoshow

10 AM: rkref: #Sotomayor has two cups of clear liquid in front of her. One is water, the other vodka, depending on if questioner is GOP or Dem. #Sotoshow

10:15: OKnox: Wait a moment. I think @OrrinHatch may have just filed the first Senatorial tweet from the #Sotomayor hearings (Unless that’s staff).

10:30: mikemadden: Coburn: “Let’s say I’m 38 weeks pregnant.” Hell of a way to make an announcement like that, Senator.

11:30 am: OKnox: Lights flicker at #Sotomayor. Leahy: “That was not a comment from above. I have certain powers as chairman, but not that one.”

12 pm: cbellantoni: Things I learned today, #sotoshow edition: #Sotomayor a fan of Perry Mason.

12:20 pm: TheFix: Sotomayor: “I am not an expert in marijuana growing” Bullet dodged 😉

12:30: DavidCornDC: video of Sen. Coburn saying to Soto: “you have lots of ‘splaining to do.” #sotomayor

2:30 pm: jdickerson: Senator Coburn says “Americans want to see what your gut says,” but I though it was wrong to pick a judge based on gut?

3 pm: JDickerson: Franken makes first joke! Asks why Sotomayor– a Perry Mason fan– doesn’t know the one case he lost. “Didn’t the White House prepare you?”

4 pm: OKnox: Grassley now asking #Sotomayor to comment on merits of Defense of Marriage Act. She says matter is pending or impending b4 SCOTUS.

Twitter coverage of the Sotomayor hearings does lead me to wonder where the substance is, since you can’t learn much more from this than who made what dumb joke. But I think the point is that the whole event, from what I can see, has turned into pure political theater. Unless Sotomayor has a “complete meltdown,” as Sen. Graham said, she’s going to get confirmed. So all the TV, cable news, and Twitter hoopla is mostly for show. And for fun.