Twitter's TV Drama
While I was off playing Rock Band all day yesterday, apparently other journalists were working. What the …? That gives all of us a bad name, people.
Variety’s venerable (but very young) Cynthia Littleton decided to take advantage of everyone being off and post this scoop about a potential Twitter TV show. You can click the link and see what she wrote but I’m going to quote some key passages here. “[Twitter] has partnered with Reveille and Brillstein Entertainment to develop an unscripted TV skein. … Project was announced with few details Monday.”
OK, so Cynthia’s clear that they are DEVELOPING a TV series, not that a TV show is imminently hitting the air.
Still, people have a hard time discerning the difference so the Twitterverse goes crazy and everyone starts talking about this new Twitter TV show that’s probably going to premiere tomorrow and how it’s definitely going to ruin Twitter and Ashton Kutcher will probably stop tweeting now due to fear of stalkers.
Meanwhile, the poor AP TV reporter, Frazier Moore, now has to get to work on his day off and write this story. In his lead, he says: “Twitter, the Web site that asks what everybody’s doing, says it wants to be doing a TV series.”
True, at that point Moore had yet to get a quote from the Twitter guys, but he does have solid quotes from the producers.
Later, Twitter puts out this statement: “There is no official Twitter TV show—although if there were it would be fun to cast! In dealing with networks and production companies we sometimes have simple agreements. Regarding the Reveille and Brillstein project reported today, we have a lightweight, non-exclusive, agreement with the producers which helps them move forward more freely.”
NYU Professor Jay Rosen then tweets that Moore should change his lead because it’s misleading. And BayNewser jumps on the bandwagon and essentially says that both Variety and the AP got it wrong and should respond.
Um, I don’t get it.
Cynthia said Twitter is working with producers to DEVELOP a TV show and Twitter confirmed that. Moore wrote a cute lead riffing off of Twitter’s tag line saying Twitter wants to be doing a TV series. He did not say “set your Tivos, Twitter show ready to hit the air.” Can’t people tell the difference?
If Twitter signed a deal – even a non-exclusive, lightweight deal - -with a production company to go forward and create a TV show, I think it’s still fair to say “Twitter wants to be doing a TV series.” If I signed a deal with a book publisher – even a non-exclusive, lightweight one – that would indicate that I wanted to write a book, would it not? It would not, however, indicate that a book was imminently forthcoming.
I believe both Variety and AP did their jobs correctly and reported the facts. Just because people got themselves all a-twitter over a show a little prematurely is more about their overreactions than bad reporting. All this twittering has taught us a) not to read past the first sentence and b) twitter long before thinking.