Monday, March 22, 2010

And the Walkley for new media douchebaggery apparently goes to... me

sassybella twitter

I was interested to spot this post from Clare Fletcher. Entitled, "Anti social media" it was about how much Fletcher had enjoyed last week's Portable/Refinery 29 presentation in Sydney - save for my extreme rudeness in Tweeting during the Q&A with the New York fashion site's co-founder Philippe von Borries and creative director Piera Gelardi. The Q&A that I myself was conducting. Now it's true, I do like a chat. I was constantly busted at school for talking, passing notes and being generally disruptive. I so abused the message system of John Fairfax's antediluvian computer network back in the 1980s that the message function was removed from my profile. Not once, but twice - after I discovered a way to send messages without it the first time. I've had a Mac and a fax machine for 21 years. A BlackBerry for five. A blog for four. And I have been on Twitter for three. During RAFW last year some took issue with my real-time Twitter coverage of the event, indignant that they were robbed of longform, more considered - and of course, 100% gratis - analysis. And yes I did Tweet during last week's Refinery 29 presentation. A fact that was apparently not lost on Fletcher, who writes:

"'s a little off topic but the thing I was most struck by at the Refinery29 talk was the behaviour of the MC..... while she was interviewing Philip and Piera from Refinery29, she was tweeting.

I'm talking about breaking eye contact during an interview to tap away on a Blackberry. Now, I understand that her social media coverage would have given the event more attention that it might have recieved otherwise. I realise that her Twitter followers would have wanted to know her thoughts on the event as it unfolded. She was doing her job. But it just seemed quite rude. What is the etiquette here? Am I being old fashioned?"

I would just like to clarify a few points here.

The only Tweets dispatched during the presentation by yours truly covered a few key points made by von Borries and Gelardi during their addresses, which took approximately 50 minutes. While I was seated in the audience. As did other attendees.

I did not, however, Tweet during the Q&A itself. I was referring to a list of prepared questions on my BlackBerry.

At the very end, as we were wrapping up, I checked to see if there had been any responses to the earlier Tweets. I thought von Borries and Gelardi might find this feedback interesting. And retweeted several times was the following point made by von Borries:
"You can't do things the old way anymore".


Some people use a notebook on the public speaking podium. Others, cue cards. It's not considered rude if they break eye contact to refer to their notes and questions, so what's the big deal with a handheld?

Fletcher, FYI, is the assistant editor of The Walkley Magazine, which is published by the Walkley Foundation, a non profit dedicated to the promotion of excellence in Australian journalism and which administers the industry's leading annual awards, the Walkleys.


Anonymous said...

I think you came off a little self involved, by constantly referencing yourself and your tweets, and running into a mad defensive about WWD, when you write for them...
I think you make a great MC or whatever, but during Q&A time, maybe instead of asserting your spot as queen of the Australian Twitterazzi, you could have attempted to engage the rest of the crowd to ask questions and such.
Also, bringing up the cliche jilted bloggers vs real journalists argument is just lame. That's one of those "issues" that only has weight because people keep bringing it up, all the time.

A good journalist shouldn't have to spend all of their time defending their actions, right? I think that should apply to online AND print media.

Patty Huntington said...

i'm sorry but we took at least a dozen questions from the audience. that's why i was there: to facilitate an audience Q&A. i had a list of questions prepared a/to kick off the conversation and b/to keep it moving in the event there was a lull in audience Qs. there were a couple of times after the refinery guys answered one question, when i threw to the audience and nothing was forthcoming. that's when i stepped in.

they mentioned WWD is one of the few websites whose content is behind a paywall. i pointed out that some content is made available for free. anyone who has used the site during the collections would know this. it appeared to be news to them.

you are entitled to your personal opinion, but mine is that the bloggers vs journalists debate is still very much alive and kicking. it came up again during the calvin klein section of the LMFF business seminar. i was interested in their take.

Sam said...

I was also at this event and I will admit up front that I know Patty so I never actually took any of those thoughts about her actions in the context that have been mentioned.

I know Patty would never be that rude to tweet while she's asking someone a question, but seriously try and do that and you couldn't do it. But if you were watching Patty you would have noticed that she was only scrolling through her Blackberry as opposed to typing furiously.

Also, knowing Patty I thought that her questions and the way that she MC'd the Q&A was appropriate, Patty is not going to be just a pretty face sitting there mute! We are constantly in discussion about the online blogging world, and Patty didn't ignore any questions from the audience with her own questions, she did it when there were none forthcoming!

As for the debate about bloggers versus journalists, it's a very topical debate right now and I feel it was appropriate to be raised, it led us to the response from Refinery29 that I was shocked to learn (and it certainly put me in my place) that they have over 1 million visitors a MONTH to their blog and they still don't get invited to the shows during Fashion Week ... not that I have that expectation for myself I have other frustrations which I'm not going into here.

At the end of the day not everyone can be happy, but sometimes it would be nice if people asked the person before making judgments about their supposed behaviour or actions! As we see here there is a reasonable explanation and I can't believe Patty has to justify her actions!

Clare said...

Hi Patty

Thanks for picking up on my blog - always a fan of your work. I fear I didn't express myself very well in the blog, which was not intended as a personal criticism. I more was interested in hearing what people think about tweeting during interviews - the feedback I've had on the blog suggests that I was a bit narrow-minded about the topic. It probably says more about my social media nous that I wasn't on twitter at the time myself.

The blog represents my personal thoughts and has no affiliation to my work with the Walkleys - this post was the first time I'd mentioned the Walkleys, in order to disclose that I had worked with you in the past and have a lot of respect for your work.

I'm not naieve enough to think that the blog would never be traced back to my work, but I just want to make it clear that my personal thoughts do not represent the Walkleys line.

We're still grappling with what social media means for journalism, so these are important discussions to have.

Best wishes,

Michelle said...

But isn't the key issue here is that between bloggers and proper journalists, that bloggers have to rely on official professional news outlets or news organisations like WWD? My biff is is that bloggers want an equal slice of the action or be afforded the same opportunities like journalists but also seems they get piggybacked by the latter.

They both mentioned WWD is behind a paywall. I don't know the leading discussion behind that but The New York Times will soon become paid. Refinery29 will remain open to the public but do I want to refer to news from them or WWD? I think the smart and relevant answer is WWD.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I'm a bit late to this, but I agree with the other Anonymous.

I didn't find any of the questions asked by you or the audience matched the calibre of content nor strength of point of view held by the R29 founders.

I was slightly embarrassed by how out of touch your questions and the other questions were.

Patty Huntington said...

questions such as how they deal with astroturfing? they responded they had never heard the term before.

perhaps they have never been cyberstalked by bitter whingers desperately attempting to engineer campaigns.

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