Twitter is the word


Global Language Monitor (GLM), has named Twitter the most popular word in the print and digital media around the world this year, followed by Obama in second place.

Twitter has taken over in all aspects of our lives – even if you’ve never looked at it, the social networking site appears in the news every day and is rapidly overtaking sites like facebook.

Stephen Fry, a twitterionaire, believes it’s the twitterers who create a story and celebrities, like him, should not be blamed for endorsing them. Fry said:

“Twitter is about participating – by which I mean you tweet and read other people’s tweets. Then you understand it, and get its rhythm”

In a recent lecture with Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s technology correspondent, I was reminded how important tools like Twitter are to modern journalists. When he started out in the BBC newsroom in 1983  the staff were distinctly separated into journalists and craft workers (camera, audio, etc). The stereotypical view of a Fleet Street journalist was confirmed when he described them as: “Men in their fifties wearing cardigans.”

The television audience of the 1980s was huge with the BBC and ITN the main providers. There was no dialogue with the audience and no real means of communication between the viewer and creator.

This has changed greatly; BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky all compete for our attention whilst digital channels offer a plenitude of varying news from countries around the world. You can text in the programme, chat about it with fellow viewers online, complain about something on the website – the means of communication are endless.

Journalists now have to carry around a Mary Poppins style handbag and be able to  find a story, write it, sub it, create a video, attach some audio and upload it to the net – all in a few hours or risk being replaced.

Fry compared Twitter to the invention of the printing press because of the huge upheaval  it caused and criticises journalists for complaining too much about the twitter world taking away traditional methods of writing.

“There was no class more contemptuous of Twitter than the commentating journalists. Why should we care about what Britney Spears had for breakfast, they said. So may I ask you, why do you write about it in the paper? The journalists said, ‘Who needs this Twitter thing?’ and in the next moment you read: ‘Follow the Daily Mail on Twitter at …’,” he added.

What Cellan-Jones told us is to embrace and nurture these new technologies and they will help you succeed and stand out. He appears regularly on UK TV and is also part of the blogging world with his blog dot.life.

Twitter directs you to the story and connects you with the news. Cellan-Jones’s speciality is technology and he has made himself one of the best in the business. By creating a specialism you stand out amongst fellow journalists and you will be more likely to survive in this cut-throat media world.

And if you were wondering:

GLM’s top 15 words of 2009

1. Twitter

2. Obama

3. H1N1

4. Stimulus

5. Vampire

6. 2.0 (term borrowed from computing, meaning ‘next generation’)

7. Deficit

8. Hadron

9. Healthcare

10. Transparency

11. Outrage

12. Bonus

13. Unemployed

14. Foreclosure

15. Cartel

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