Jon & Kate and Letterman: Twitter Loves Tawdry TV Tweets!

David Letterman is used to creating lists, not being on them. Though we’re not sure how excited he is to be at the top of Trendrr’s Most Twittered Television list spurred mostly by his sex-with-co-workers/extortion scandal that popped up last week. Letterman topped the chart with 42,025 tweets on Friday. Saturday Night Live finished the week strong with a star-studded show that included Lady Gaga, Madonna and Scarlett Johansson.

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But maybe watching Madonna and Lady Gaga rassle on SNL just isn’t enough to get you to tweet. You want something even dirtier. Thankfully the mud-slinging between Jon and Kate Gosselin only seems to escalate, and people are buzzing about it. Given how everyone has asymmetrical bobs on the brain, Trendrr pulled together a list of people Tweeting about Tweedle-dum and dumber.

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Chad Ochocinco: Twitter Truth Teller, Andy Kaufman-Like Prankster

ocho_10-5We’ve written about the pleasures of following NFL star Chad Ochocinco on Twitter before, but over the last two hours the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver has taken it to the next level.

Combining humor and serious analysis, Ochocinco went rogue with a critique of the ongoing discussions regarding the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players. Then he said he got cut.

Here’s some of his tweets from the past two hours:

Holy shit!!!! Owners are planning to lock the players out in 2011!! In meetings with the NFLPA now.

Owners haven’t agreed to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the same person who helped with the lockout in hockey(Bob Batterman)now NFL!!!

Television revenue is what feeds us,4.5 billion a year=each team gets 30 million whether we play or not,clause was put in the deal by owners

25% percent of our salaries need to be saved this year and next year, this will happen, they are sure players will break because of needs!

Owners get paid regardless whether we play or not through direct tv deal4.5 billion a year=each owner gets 30mill and no salaries to pay!!

There can’t possibly be any solution for the NFL here other than to fine Ochocinco on some level, especially considering their generally strict policies. Although at the same time, the NFL has embraced Twitter more than other leagues (NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is an occasional Twitterer).

So after this attention grabbing set of tweets, Ochocinco’s feed took an Andy Kaufman-like turn. He pretended (we’re pretty sure) he got cut by the Bengals.

Damn I just got cut!!! WTF!!!

Oh well, damn I was looking forward to playing against Baltimore, they shut the front door on me!!!!

To give an idea what those who follow Ochocinco get on a regular basis, last night he tweeted the restaurant he was going to and paid for dinner for all who joined him. 20 people.

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» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter


NY-Boston Amtrak Train Stranded For Hours; Twitter No Help

amtrak A New York-to-Boston Amtrak train has been stalled outside Providence for over 4 hours because of an “electrical” issue, stranding passengers inside with only one working bathroom  — and Twitter isn’t coming to their rescue.

Despite numerous passengers tweeting at theh #amtrak hashtag, the train — which left NYC at 6:20 a.m. and stalled somewhere in the neighborhood of 9:15 a.m., according to one passenger —  is still parked in place.

According to passenger Susan McPherson,the train is “down to one working bathroom” after the journey from NYC to Boston suddenly got a lot longer.

McPherson, who tweets at @LittleMac1, is one of many passengers on the ill-begotten train who have been tweeting up a storm, out of frustration and perhaps, the hope of relief.  Nevertheless, that online and mobile megaphone has not seemed to speed the repair of the issue. Judging from the tweets, more than one train is implicated -  there are reports of an 8:03 a.m. train similarly stalled, as well as a separate incident outside Union Station in Washington, D.C. Here are some sample tweets:

@Reynaldi: #amtrak has stranded me in Providence.

@gmarsh17: Take #amtrak to avoid delays and been sitting in Providence for 3 hours Awesome. Not alone on Twitter either…
@dtunkelang: Amtrak/Acela FAIL. Been stuck somewhere in Rhode Island for 2 hours, indefinitely delayed en route to Boston.

@LittleMac1: Almost 3 hours since #Amtrak broke down this am and no end in sight. Makes me long 4 Europe’s system

@DowntownWoman: earlier Acela train ripped down some wires #Amtrak NE disrupted service. Lots of workmen trying to isolate live wires outside my window.

@lehmannchris Train now stranded outside Balto–presumably cuz engineer can’t figure out how to back it in on track / AMTRAK = TORTURE

@dtunkelang: Acela is moving now, albeit at anything but high speed. 8:03am leaving NYC, arriving in Boston at…3pm? More like 4pm. Amtrak #FAIL.

@lokison: Probably not making our bus in Boston. Awesome. Amtrak had better pay for a hotel for us.
MRobDC: amtrak is a great way to travel…as long as you dont care when you get where you’re going…

Amtrak itself has no official presence on Twitter. (Joe Biden! You might want to suggest that.) Says @DowntownWoman: “Surprised no #Amtrak on Twitter. Lots of angry riders who will be tough to win back.”

Perhaps – as McPherson points out, it’s not like there are fabulous Euro-style alternatives (and plane delays are just as notorious, particularly out of New York). Still, Twitter is supposed to get you somewhere — to loudly announce your needs in real time so that the world can react accordingly. I’m not sure if that would make it less frustrating or more. We’ll have to see what people tweet about it.

In the meantime, according to McPherson, with whom I have emailed about these delays, they were promised that they’d be moving soon. So hopefully they will be! In the meantime, maybe the Twitter boys want to open up their API for a train-fixing application.

Either way, at least they are keeping their sense of humor. From @GoodVibeCoach: “Irony = getting an email titled “Amtrak rewards” while stuck on a train that is nearly 3 hours late. <-ha!”

Godspeed, weary travelers.

UPDATE: That was quick. Via Twitter, from our friend @Cheeky_Geeky, aka Dr. Mark Drapeau: “On train to DC now. Problem is down power line (or similar) in RI, gumming up the Boston-NYC-DC corridor.” Yikes. Good luck everyone!


Old People Learn To Twitter, Naturally, On The Jay Leno Show

twitter_10-2The Jay Leno Show has dropped in the ratings since it premiered September 14, and the storylines have largely hinged on the fact that its very similar to his version of The Tonight Show.

But now that we’re into October, it was time for the host to shake things up. How about Twitter? And old people? Let’s see how it went.

Jay Leno Show correspondent and comedian Liz Feldman led the “Old School” segment, which essentially was a class for senior citizens about Twitter. The jokes were somewhat predictable. There was one woman using the words “twattered” and “tweetered”. One person, when asked who she wanted to follow, responded “Bernie Madoff.” One woman wanted to her handle to be “PassionInBurbank” – Feldman thought she was looking for a date.

Here’s one exchange:

Liz: It’s time for you to send your first Twitter. And remember this sets the tone for the rest of your Twitters.
Barbara: “When is that economic crisis going to over?”
Liz: That’s a bummer.
Barbara: It’s a question.
Liz: Yeah. Okay I’m just going to add a little ‘LOL’ at the end just to lighten it up.

In a way, it seemed like a “Jaywalking” segment, only in front of a computer and where the clueless individuals were 65 and over. But Leno attempting Twitter jokes, to whatever level of success was achieved, was a sign the host and the show were looking to the younger crowd.

NBC’s 12:30 host, Jimmy Fallon, is actually on Twitter. And he has over two million followers. NBC’s 11:30 host, Conan O’Brien, has a pretty successful Twitter Tracker segment. Now Leno has gotten in the mix – albeit, through the lens of senior citizens.

Here’s the whole segment:

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» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter


Is WaPo’s Media Critic Criticizing WaPo’s Social Media Guidelines?

twitter-birdOver the weekend, the Washington Post became the largest name in news to issue an all-points memo about acceptable use of social networking platforms, namely Twitter and Facebook. And though the paper did not make their guidelines public, Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander made the announcement via an interpretation of the policy on his blog. Soon thereafter, paidContent ran the rules in their entirety, fueling an already raging firestorm against the policies on the web. Today, the Post’s media critic Howard Kurtz responds, but seems hesitant, giving a surprising amount of space to critics of the policy and providing little convincing support for his bosses.

Revealing a portion of the nominally confidential guidelines, Kurtz quotes:

“Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything — including photographs or video — that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility.”

When the news first hit we called these guidelines “actually pretty reasonable,” but wondered aloud if it was a good idea to “remove all evidence of personality from the reporter’s product.” Many media critics, bloggers and editors had similar questions, raised throughout the week, many of whom Kurtz’s column cites substantially, including paidContent, Business Week’s Stephen Baker, David Carr of the New York Times and Time’s James Poniewozik. And though Kurtz gives paragraphs of his column to the criticisms they have, his counterpoints are deflated: “This is all much ado about nothing,” he all but writes — “There’s nothing to see here!” In his words:

“Not to put a damper on a great fuss, but I think this is entirely reasonable. I don’t see it as a corporate attempt to crush creativity and sap the soul. People follow journalists on Twitter and Facebook because they’re interested in what the person writes, blogs or says on television. We can’t pretend we’re random people who can just pop off at will.”

Instead of elaborating on his defense of the guidelines — which include not talking about the paper’s business moves or newsroom — Kurtz spends his first handful of paragraphs joking around about inane tweets, and halfheartedly assuring that the Post is not squashing any employee’s personal brand: “No one is saying we can’t engage on these sites, or that some Post editor has to provide tweet-by-tweet approval.”

Astutely, Carr writes on his Times, “Mainstream outlets who gag social media efforts are unilaterally disarming in the ongoing war for reader attention.” Kurtz calls Carr’s a “salient point” but continues to say that he doesn’t believe the rules “reflect a lack of trust. There’s no czar in charge. Management is just asking folks to think twice before sharing something with the world,” Kurtz writes. You can practically picture him shrugging.

>>>NEXT: Does Kurtz kind of agree with critics of the Post?

The Martha Stewart Tech Show

Untitled1Martha Stewart opened up her studio audience seats to live-bloggers yesterday in an impressive release of control for the notoriously cautious television talk show circuit. Where audience members are normally forced off the grid during tapings, Martha’s show staff asked us all to bring and use our laptops, smartphones and cameras. As Martha herself posted on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, the show was to be “all about social networking.” The result? Somewhat disappointing and not very social, but a smart move nonetheless.

Informed and prepared, Martha Stewart led a series of fast-paced interviews with a handful of social networking heavyweights including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Everybody including Martha seemed excited by the concept of live audience involvement but it was hard not to feel like we were odd visitors in an experiment they weren’t quite ready to handle.

SLIDESHOW: Behind the scenes at the Marth Stewart Tech Show

With 125 users trying to access the wireless network – 126 including Martha – it was slow or inaccessible to many of us. When we were all asked to disconnect so Martha could get a signal, live-blogging activities were quickly downgraded to the occasional smartphone tweet. In all, the experiment generated 452 searchable tweets and retweets using the announced hashtag #theTECHshow and another 99 using the more intuitive identifier #Martha. These are underwhelming numbers from a tech-equipped audience of social influencers like Julia Roy, who has 31,392 followers on Twitter, Idolator editor Maura Johnston and viral-web monitor Urlesque, but it’s all good. The Martha show gets a little extra shot of publicity, and the blogosphere gets some extra attention. And both are excited to be recognized by the other. By allowing us to take and post behind-the-scenes photos we all feel more involved and closer to the show. This was a smart move with zero risk, all reward despite the execution troubles.

The deeper question is why Martha’s advisors – and why the television industry in general – doesn’t integrate social media more frequently into the shows. Allowing people to stay connected and share their experiences directly from their audience seats shouldn’t be a one-time experiment. Successful television shows have always known the importance of social connections and word-of-mouth, yet somehow they’re almost all viewing the internet as a threat rather than a powerful opportunity.

What could the Martha show have done differently yesterday? Rather than treat social networking as a separate technology discussion, they could have prepped the tech guests to discuss how their products and sites enhance the domestic arts. Martha probably wouldn’t bring the head of GE Appliances on the show just to discuss the latest cooktop elements, and she wouldn’t go in-depth on the features of a glue gun without tying it into why her viewers should care. Similarly, Biz Stone should not have mentioned Twitter’s retweet functionality without tying it into how it can benefit the audience. Chris Hughes could have spent less time on Facebook’s privacy options, more time bringing it home to why Martha’s demographic cares. Yahoo’s Heather Cabot added more of a Martha vibe during her photo editing segment but for the most part the links between technology features and how the home viewer can benefit, specifically around the domestic arts, were rarely drawn.

Martha and her staff are to be applauded for their efforts but when the show airs tomorrow, Friday October 2nd, viewers at home will likely wonder what it all has to do with them.

Andrew Cherwenka is VP Biz Dev at Trapeze.com, an interactive marketing agency with offices in New York and Toronto. Find him on Twitter at @cherwenka.

Photo captions by Joe Coscarelli