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Francesc Pujol Torras, Professor of Online Reputation and Crisis at the University of Navarra, Spain

Twitter, noise and harmony

For some it is the perfect channel for spreading false stories with destructive political goal . But behind it there is much more: there is analysis and commentary, and external content shared

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 13:23:00 +0000 Published in Las Provincias

Those who know Twitter only from the outside, from what comes through the echoes in the press, know above all that it is a den in permanent combustion. Twitter burns. Dozens of times we learn of slips, blunders, unfortunate or offensive statements of the celebrity or politician on duty. Twitter and social networks are also weapons of mass destruction. Destruction final of reputation by an unfortunate tweet that goes viral and becomes a massive attack. Harassment that can lead to death, as in the well-known case of the Italian Tiziana Cantone who ended up committing suicide because she could no longer bear the dissemination of a private video of her with sexual content. Twitter as the place where undesirables, aggressive, fanatical, who attack in packs, in a pack against those who think differently, no matter what they say, no matter what they do, are concentrated.

Twitter as pure noise. To the list of calamities it generates it seems that we must now add that of being guilty of the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Because social networks have become the perfect channel to spread false stories with destructive political goal . Thus, for example, a Denver Guardian story attacking Clinton managed to go viral and be shared 570,000 times. The problem is not only that the news is fake... it's that the Denver Guardian doesn't exist.

I recently shared a proposal for organic moderation of hate on Twitter: let an algorithm tag each Username on a scale of 1 to 10 according to the offensive tone of the tweets. And let each Username be the one to grade the level of noise they are willing to put up with on Twitter. We'll see.

The Twitter of 2016 is not the Twitter of pre-2014. The most insubstantial conversations between users almost all went to Whatsapp; tweets with photos of personal situations are on Instagram and Snapchat. Content shared among close circles is on Facebook. Twitter is no longer and can never aspire to be a platform for universal use, even if it is so hard for Twitter executives to understand its new nature. But Twitter is much more than a redoubt of social deformities.

Because Twitter is not just noise, it is also melody and harmony. What remains above all on Twitter is analysis and commentary and shared external content. The quality of the analysis does not depend so much on the length as on the intellectual worth of the author. And this is where Twitter retains a unique competitive advantage: Twitter is the social space of experts and analysts. Do you know what the main strength of Twitter is? internship The fact that on this social network all journalists are active, on a massive scale. It is their natural space. They know how to avoid the pitfalls of hoaxes and dubious sources: it's in their paycheck. And they share a large part of this quality content on Twitter because they have to take care of their own brand staff on Twitter. Hundreds of journalists in Spain have more than 10,000 followers on Twitter. I know this because I am preparing a report about them.

Give Twitter a chance. And if you have already given it a chance in the past, give it a second or third chance. Because if you are reading this newspaper and this reflection, whether in print or online, you belong to the minority that is interested not only in being informed but also in following the news and seeking to delve deeper to understand the whys and wherefores of current affairs. His magic box is on Twitter. Let me give you some advice if you are looking for quality information. Do not follow celebrities; they are celebrities because of what they do outside Twitter, not because of their tweets. Don't follow politicians: they spout the same speech on and off Twitter. Do not follow many people you know; you are already following them on Facebook. Don't follow brands; they have nothing to say. Be very sparing in following media; the minimum: the local press and some others that you consider essential. And follow journalists. As many as you can. Also those on television and radio, because they are also there. Avoid shouting talk show hosts, because they also shout on Twitter. You will read relevant, filtered, selected content. And you will be accompanied by their reflections, reasoned analysis. And those journalists will lead you to other journalists and experts and academics active on Twitter. And from there, also open the windows to finding, following professionals and experts from the most varied fields, who are of interest to you. If you want to be informed, if you love and value the role of the press, if you want to access the best sources and content, you are just in time to discover the old Twitter. It has transformed me.