John Rentoul, chief political commentator for the Independent on Sunday, has put up a strong defence of Twitter in the Independent today.
He says: " The secret of Twitter's success is that it sounds stupid. No one has to take it seriously, which means anyone can use it for anything they want."
Rentoul adds: "When I started on this newspaper as a political reporter in 1995, the main source of UK 'breaking news' was the Press Association wire – short bulletins of news, as it happened. Now Twitter fills that gap, as journalists and citizen-reporters let each other know when someone has left their microphone on, or has ruled out standing for the Labour leadership.
"When Adam Boulton started to lose his temper with Alastair Campbell on live television during the post-election negotiations, people tweeted to tell others to put Sky News on – to catch the best bits. William Hague announced that the talks with the Liberal Democrats were back on on Twitter. It is a way for politicians to speak to – or beyond – the conventional media. But it also offers journalists other ways of reporting."
He concludes: "Twitter is a friendlier place than the blogosphere because people tend to follow each other if they are interested in what the other has to say; so we avoid the bile and insults of news site and blog comments. . . I love it, for passing on intelligence, arguing with friends, commenting on life, the universe and everything."
- On Saturday, Simon Heffer suggested in the Telegraph it was "preposterous" that supposedly intelligent grown ups should be using Twitter.