New Journalism in Action – Using Twitter as a Photoblog with the Iphone

The idea: to run a live Tweet stream from the varied events of the Sutton, Ma Chain of Lights, a celebration that happens at many different locations thoughout the town and its villages.  I used my Iphone with the Twitterlator Application that lets me post pictures direct to Twitter with pictures that I take on my phone uploaded right at that moment.  The tweets all contain the hashtag #suttoncol – short for Sutton Chain of Lights which make them searchable via the Twitter search function, formerly known as Summize.  You can check out the full tweet stream here.

Additionally we (my 9 year old daughter Mackenzie helped me with this) took photos at the events we attended with my Canon Power Shot A530 5 megapixel point and shoot camera.

Why Would You Bother: Sutton, like many small communities, doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the local paper, The Worcester Telegram, and substantially less from the television stations.  Even if they did send someone out to cover the events, they’d have gone to a single location, took a quick couple pictures, or did a quick standup talking to some happy kids, then they’d have been off to their next assignment.  Local events are naturals for crowd sourcing, and what better way to do it than live tweeting with a hashtag, posting a photo gallery, etc.

When I sat down last week to add pictures to the National Gallery and Gift Shop site to help publicize the event, I was surprised to find there were no pictures online anywhere from the Chain of Lights last year, save a few marketing shots by The Vaillancourt Folk Art Museum. Continue reading “New Journalism in Action – Using Twitter as a Photoblog with the Iphone”

Twitter’s Achilles Heel

Okay, maybe this isn’t the only flaw of Twitter, but it’s a good one, and I suspect, eminently fixable.  The problem is that we’re forced to drink from the fire hose when we look at our main tweet stream.  If you follow someone, you get everything they tweet, the good, the bad, the ugly.

As I posted the other day, I’m utterly sick of the ceaseless tweeting about politics, much of which would make Josef Goebbels blush.  Last night I’m sure many of my followers were annoyed with my incessant tweeting on the Red Sox post season opener against the Angels.

The problem is pretty obvious, hash tags have given us an easy way to group tweets by topic via search.  We also need the ability to exclude tweets by hash tag as well.  This is very easy to do, and won’t impact Twitter service as well, as we’d just have to ask people to tag their topics appropriately.  Thus I could have my Twitter client show me anything you have in your general or personal stream, plus anything related to #sm for social media, while excluding #pol tweets so I don’t have to unfollow you during the election cycle.

Tweetdeck is well setup to handle something like this, and I’ll be forwarding the suggestion to them later today.  As any Google power user knows, have of the magic of search is not the stuff you include in your search, it’s the stuff you exclude to help bring the things you want to the top.

As a side note, the #redsox tweet stream apparently brought to its knees half way through the game.  Because Tweetdeck does it’s sorting at the client level, it kept on working without a glitch throughout the game.

(Update: Iain Dodsworth, the founder of Tweetdeck got in touch to say he was contemplating a filter at the bottom of every column.  I think this would be a tremendous killer app.  Especially if he made it so you could tweet and reply from the column so that you hash tag would be added much as a reply tag is added now.)