Global News After the Twitter Revolutions

Notes from SXSW session by Time Magazine Intl,Editor, Jim Frederick, NPR Sr Strategist, Andy Carvin, CNN Managing Editor, Meredith Artley, and NBC News Correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin.

I was present at SXSW 2011 during the Arab Spring where I inadvertently ended up is a session with Andy Carvin who was tweeting madly with peers about the happenings. During this session, he broke the news to the room that an Al-Jazeera journalist had become the first journalist to be killed covering the uprisings. Many others in the room personally knew this reporter. It was a life changing event for me.

This 2013 session is much more formal than 2011. In 2011, there were just a handful of chairs in a circle in a back room where most of us sat on the floor. I sat next to Clay Shirkey and then Al Jazeera reporter, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin.

Unlike 2011 where Carvin stole the show, today, Mohyeldin commanded the room with his on the ground experience.

The discussion today is about how these leaders use social network tools to do their job better.

1. Hamas and Israel forces actually tweet back and forth to each other.
2. “CNN iReport” seems a bit old today” CNN Managing Editor, Meredith Artley
3. It is still possible to direct message (twitter) high profile people just like the early days of email.
4. During the east coast earthquake, Andy searched twitter for “what the fuck was that?” because people tweet what they think or how they feel.
5. They worry about geo location broadcasting for personal safety.

CNN – Artley
1. Day parting news. Meredith is looking at web analytics! During lunch break, they push out non breaking news – something lighter. Looking at devices too. iPad usage peaks in the evening.
2. Social media is setting the news agenda. Head of social feeds trending topics. It’s one of the 3 methods to set the agenda.

NPR – Carvin
1. Social media tools have limits and you need to work within those constraints for success.
2. We will see more sophistication of using tools like Twitters with new countries goofing through conflict.

NBC – Mohyeldin
1. Governments are much more savvy with social network. Facebook is where official statements start in Egypt
2. The anti prophet video and Egypt’s banning of YouTube for a month had the opposite intended effect for the Egyptian government.
3. Less concerned where/what platform news is consumed as long as it is NBC content.
5. Facebook used in Arab world as a serious political community tool which seems a sharp contrast to the US where it is more entertainment and commerce.
6. It has changed Arab conversations from top down to horizontal.
7. Information is ubiquitous. I can’t compete to breaking the story. My job is to put the story in context.