Rain, wind and fiery debate at #SMCakl

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Three big events occurred on Wednesday: Rain, wind and Twitterati v/s Journalism – Flame Wars at Social Media Club Auckland’s first meetup in 2016. 

A heated debate ensued among the 130+ audience and a panel of well-known media personalities – Bernard Hickey (Hive News, interest.co.nz);  Ben Ross (blogger, urban design thinker); Jess Etheridge (Auckland Council); Alison Mau (RadioLive); hosted by Adrienne Kohler.

Journalists worldwide are crying foul of the disruption brought to their craft by twitterati. While every journalist and their publication is on Twitter, not everyone who tweets is a journalist.

Journalism, loyalists argue, is about fine writing, fact-finding, succinct headlines, accurate and fair news-reporting and in-depth analysis with opinions, views and perspectives. Since when did badly punctuated, incorrectly strung, 140-character tweets hold a pen up to hallowed editorial content? How can nasty pile-ons and online abuse become newsworthy?

But the reality is, the mighty columns of NY Times, WaPo, WSJ have lost web traffic to the real-timing twitterati. Content curators who are able to mash news (Mashable), post stuff in a huff (HuffPo), crunch the latest in tech (TechCrunch) and feed the buzz (Buzzfeed) dominate the news. The livestream is the new mainstream.

Twitterati argued: How can publications with paywalls and / or gated content compete with free, unfiltered sources. In the age of insta-gratification, how can any journo beat the immediacy of a smartphone wielding Joe Blogg posting free photos, soundbytes, videos – as it happens. In an ADHD world, snackable content tidbits –  with hyperlinks – work best. Those interested can dig in deeper, or hit like and save for later.

As a result, an increasing number of journalists now create clickbait instead of cutting reviews, falling prey to the temptation of available material on twitter in the name of lazy journalism.

Verdict: Journalism must integrate social media and mobile into the newsroom. Don’t fight the tide. Forbes, HBR, The Economist have transformed digitally and shown how to surf the tsunami.

Twitterati 140; Journalists 0 was the final score at the debate. Despite the tweet-storm that raged on that evening, and the #SMCakl hashtag trending on Twitter in NZ, many believe it was a foregone conclusion.

Social Media Club Auckland is a free monthly event where around 250 business communicators drink something cold, meet someone cool and learn something useful.

Regular attendees include social media managers and marketing professionals from NZ’s largest corporates, advertising and pr agency executives and SME / business owner/ operators.

If you haven’t been to one already, be sure to drop in to a #SMCAKL event in 2016.

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