David Shuster Tweets, Then Deletes; Blames Management For Twitter Absence

MSNBC anchor David Shuster broke his three-week long Twitter silence last night with a strange series of explanatory tweets about his absence – that were all deleted a few hours later.

What does appear to be clear, however, is Shuster says MSNBC management is stopping him from tweeting.

Shuster’s tweets were posted by text last night, and honestly looked like direct messages – to someone – gone awry. In other words, they were never meant to be published to his 24,000+ followers. Maybe. Either way, Shuster wrote, “Thankyou. I appreciate it. I’m hoping mgmt will revisit the twitter issue soon. Thx again 4 your support.”

That was followed with “Problems with direct text function” and later “Yes”. Yeah – this was probably a new media mistake. But in light of this new information, we asked MSNBC to explain what Shuster was referring to, and, again, got a “no comment” from an MSNBC spokesperson.

Here’s what it looked like last night:

So what do these deleted tweets reveal? Despite the fact that Shuster has remained on-air, anchoring the 10amET and 3pmET on MSNBC, since his on-air fight with Andrew Breitbart and Twitter attack on James O’Keefe, Shuster is claiming management has cracked down on his Twitter use. And it’s not for any set amount (Shuster was once suspended for two weeks for a crack at Chelsea Clinton) – Shuster says he hopes “to get the green light to Twitter again soon.”

That means he has no idea when, or even if, MSNBC will allow him to get back on the social media service. Or, that’s what he’s willing to say publicly (or, accidentally publicly). And as MSNBC continues their silence on the truth, we are forced to continue to speculate.

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Robert Gibbs To Be The Hall Monitor Of Press Corps Twitters?

I’m fairly certain that at some point this is going to end in tears. Regular watchers of the White House will likely already be aware that both deputy press secretary Bill Burton and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs are now on Twitter.

Burton made a quiet entry into 140 character land during the Christmas holidays, and has since amassed 4000 or so followers. Roberts Gibbs’ arrival on Saturday, it will probably not surprise you, was somewhat more splashy — in just over a day he clocked in 17,000 followers (he now has 21,000-plus): “watch out Kim Kardashian!”

Who wants to start placing bets on how long it is before Gibbs creates a national incident with that Twitter feed? Two weeks? A month? In the meantime, Michael Calderone reports, the White House is using their new presence in Twitter land to keep a sharp eye on what politcal journos are reporting.

Gibbs told POLITICO that he was inspired to join after watching Burton’s account during President Barack Obama’s surprise visit to the White House briefing room last Tuesday.

Burton could see that reporters were having non-news related side conversations over Twitter and chastised them for not focusing on the president. Gibbs said it was “fascinating to see what people are thinking, writing, doing in real time.”

Sounds a lot like they are positioning themselves as Twitter hall monitors! Let’s hope it’s not quite so boring as all that. There is also the assumption they will (and in Burton’s case, have) use Twitter to quickly push back on stories they disagree with. How this will pan out exactly in real time should be interesting to see: Gibbs’ first press briefing as a Twitterer is today. To tweet or not to tweet?


Who’s Going to Make Your News? And Who’s Going to Pay Them?

Who’s going to bring you your news in a couple of years: The likes of the New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal? Or someone whose tweets have been picked up by Google News?

All of the above, likely.

If you want to see this question get hashed out at length, check out the video below, which features reps from the Times, the Journal, Google (GOOG) and AOL (AOL) back-and-forthing for an hour-plus.

Their chat was part of a day-long event hosted by the Paley Center in New York last week, which was ostensibly about journalism education. But this one was really about the same discussion everyone in journalism has whenever there’s a spare minute: “Holy cow! What just happened to our industry, and what are we going to do next?”

If you’re still working in the journalism industry, you may be hard pressed to find a spare hour to watch five guys talk about the future of the journalism industry. But! If you are so inclined, this one is pretty good.

And if you paid glancing attention to this thing while it was going on, via Twitter, it may be refreshing to watch it yourself. Because while it’s great for some stuff, Twitter can be pretty lousy way to cover a panel discussion.

It turns out, for instance, that when the WSJ’s Alan Murray referred to Google’s Josh Cohen as a “promiscuous parasite,” he was making a joke. Which wasn’t clear at all when this got repeated in the Twitterstream.

See for yourself:

Top 10 U.S. Olympic Athletes on Twitter

While the Vancouver Olympic games have the attention of TV audiences across the globe, the Twitter-verse’s attention seems to have followed.

olympics As these athletes compete for Olympic gold, competition is also on for sponsorship deals and marketability, and the number of followers for each athlete’s Twitter account is a strong indicator of the athlete’s public popularity. Here are Twitter’s top 10 followed athletes competing for team USA this Olympic season.

1. Shaun White, Snowboarding
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/Shaun_White
    Followers: 101,521

    I almost hesitate to include Shaun White, since his latest tweet was in September, but the man has quite a following.

2. Apolo Ohno,  Short Track Speed Skating
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/ApoloOhno
    Followers: 79, 618

    Best update: “Next up? 1000m. Imagine the 1500m but more intense, more aggresive tactics, faster speeds, and dare I say it? Crazier? I can't wait. :-)

3. Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing
    Twitter stream:  http://twitter.com/lindseyvonn
    Followers:  45,439

    Best update: “I just found out about the Georgian luger who died today my heart goes out to his family and friends. http://bit.ly/9v7ljh

4. Angela Ruggiero, Ice Hockey
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/AngelaRuggiero
    Followers: 37,013

    Best update: ”Just finished practice at UBC arena. Great to have a light skate the day before Russia. Back to the village for some chow.”

5. Steve Mesler, Bobsled
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/SteveMesler
    Followers: 27,582

    Best update: “Some free time at the sport peformance center outside the Athletes Village in Whistler yields praise of good http://tweetphoto.com/11407443”

6. Louie Vito, Snowboarding
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/louievito
    Followers: 16,749

    Best update: “This is Ridic!!! RT @TelegraphNews Winter Olympics 2010: Japanese snowboarder punished for wearing low-slung trousers http://bit.ly/ciNDFq

7. Johnny Weir, Figure Skating
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/JohnnyGWeir
    Followers: 10,717

    The bio really says it all:  “Figure Skater Fashionista Movie Star”

8. Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarding
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/GretchenBleiler
    Followers: 6,870

    Best update: “Let the Games Begin! Last night's opening ceremonies were amazing! Thanks for all the support tweeps!!“

9. Tanith Belbin, Pairs Figure Skating
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/TanithJLB
    Followers: 5,006

    Best update: “Just thought of a plan B to get to B.C. in time!Now, does anyone know where they keep Falkor the dragon from Neverending Story?”

10. Evan Lysacek, Figure Skating
    Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/EvanLysacek
    Followers: 4,680

    Best update: “All of our thoughts and prayers are with Team Georgia and the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili tonight. He'll be marching in spirit.”

Click here for a full list of U.S. athletes on Twitter.

Robert Gibbs Touts Global Approval Poll on Twitter

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been easing into “the Twitter” slowly, with 5 tweets over the course of 2 days. With over 18,000 followers, every utterance is sure to generate Twitter heat, as this morning’s surely will. Gibbs notes that the recent snow in DC may have buried the lede that global opinion of US leadership went way up from 2008 to 2009.

Cue right-wingers returning to not caring what the world thinks of us.

Gibbs’ tweet:

Lost during the snow days in DC – Perceptions of US leadership improved significantly from 08 to 09 http://bit.ly/cGMnzU

During the 8 years of the Bush administration, the notion of world approval was the subject of mockery by our own elected officials. Suddenly, though, conservatives turned into diplomatic protocol experts (with selective memories) when there was red meat to be served. Depending on how long before his next tweet, I predict Gibbs will be lambasted for caring what the world thinks.

So far, Gibbs has also used his Twitter feed to highlight the killing of terrorists by drone strikes, which former Bush administration official Marc Thiessen thinks is a bad thing, and to point out inconsistencies in Republican reactions to John Brennan’s recent remarks on terrorist recidivism.

Tweeting and re-tweeting links can be tricky for public figures, as it can often be seen as an endorsement of every syllable in the accompanying article, but Gibbs has thus far chosen his carefully and deliberately.


Shocker: Kevin Smith still not too Happy with Southwest Airlines

Kevin Smith’s recent spat with Southwest Airlines may have given us a new corollary to “never get involved in a land war in Asia“: Don’t detain a beloved cult director with 1.65 million Twitter followers for being “too fat to fly” (Smith’s words) when he’s already onboard the plane, stridently defending your “Customer of Size” policy while offering him a offer him a $100 voucher (Smith: “the way a john tosses a hooker a c-note”), and then take to your weirdly capitalized corporate blog — which is lined with peanuts, by the way — to passive-aggressively ‘apologize’ to “Not So Silent Bob.” Referring to him as “Not So Silent Bob” being a great way to show a ‘with it’ knowledge of his films and also to say: Hey guy, stop complaining about this incident on Twitter already.

Well, Kevin Smith is still ‘not so silent’ about the Southwest Airlines incident. After innumerable Tweets about the incident yesterday, many of which were self-made or retweeted fat jokes, Smith is back today, and it sounds like the offered c-note did not win him over:

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