Taking Twitter for granted – Hello Sukrabar

Are you a Twitter user? The micro-blogging platform in which you can’t type more than 140 characters (yes, it is character, not words).

In the recent time, Twitter has become very popular in the world. Some Nepali have also started using it. Encouraged by its popularity in Nepali users, Kantipur Daily has started publishing a section called "Sataka Twits". In the section one of the reporters copies twitter posts of his/her friends and publishes. When I saw the section last week, I felt a bit uneasy. The section this week is really awkward. One guy, in the published post is telling that he has borrowed his friend’s password to check-out the lady friends there (I thought his name deserves to be removed in the following cutting of the newspaper).

I have a couple of questions, for the publishers.

1. Do the twitters it publishes represents the whole Nepali population? What is the criteria these twits are published and others are not published. If it is a personal preference of somebody why the name of the person not published?

2. Are the person whose twit is being published, notified about the publication? According to the comment of one user (attached below), it seems nobody is pre-informed about the publication.

On the issue, when I raised the question another user replied that a US judge has declared that twits are public.

It is matter of another discussion if a US judiciary decision holds good in Nepal or not. Personally, it is not a matter of law, it is a matter of common sense on what to publish in a National media. They should have at least asked the users involved, before publishing the content. They should have known the content is only targeted to their Twitter friends, not the wide newspaper readers.

For those who want to read more about Twitter, a nice article by Dinesh Wagle is a good read in the same section of the newspaper.

The response of Dinesh Wagle, journalist of Kantipur publication via Twitter is posted below:

My response:
There was a recent news in UK about a court ruling that Twitter posts are considered public domain. Rules are different in different places. In the US, when Google released StreetView, it was allowed to take photos of unsuspected people in the street. But, when it started doing so in Europe and Canada, the governments didn’t allow Google the breach of privacy of people on the street. Google was hence forced to blur the people’s face in the street.

Nepal in the other hand is a different society where privacy is of little value and many don’t even care. Hence, those news of Western world have little value here. When people say “Everybody does it, so we are doing the same;” all I say is, “Let them get lost in the crowd! Those who can get innovative and respect the feelings of their readers, get the sympathy and the respect.”

UPDATE (April 8, 2011)
Kantipur has somewhat realized it’s mistake and has requested the Twitter users to mention it if they want something to be published in the newspaper. This is somewhat a better approach and a step in right direction. I wish they could have come over the ‘ego factor’ and removed it completely rather than making it even more uninteresting to-fill-the-page stuff. Here is the cutting from today’s Kantipur:

UPDATE (April 14, 2011)
Well, the announcement last week was not followed in the tweets published this week. Let’s see how long they will continue this nonsense.

9 thoughts on “Taking Twitter for granted – Hello Sukrabar

  1. jhalanath khnal le aafulai k thaneko 6a? aafumatrai pradhanmantri hune ani rastrako dhukutile aafulai matra sukuti kinne ho ki janatako ra desh ko barema oani sochne?

  2. नेपाल विद्युत प्रविधिकरणले लोड सेडिङ्ग घटाएको सवै रातीको समयमा मात्रै । अझ उर्जा मन्त्रीले व्यवस्थापकीय सुधार ले लेडसेडिङ्ग घटेको भन्दा त हाँसो नै उठ्यो ।

  3. Pingback: Tweetdebate – #snkyjrn| #tweetdebate
  4. Nice to read it . Always use any electronic media in a respective way . , Never use worst words . If we respect others ,in return we receipt same things .

  5. यि नेताहरुलाइ तह लगाउने कुनै उपाय छैन त??!!

  6. I think this is a multi-faced situation we’ve here. If we look at your perspective that seems to be the major issue – privacy and personal rights. People have lost their jobs, been defriended or mistreated just because of 140 characters ‘inside’ twitter itself. So, bringing them to the national dailies ‘could’ make it even worse.
    But, from another perspective, youths could use this publishing as an opportunity to send out a positive/negative suggestion, creative criticism to a certain issue as well. I would like to highlight the second case more. While, I believe the newspaper’s personnels (not a single person) will be sensitive and responsible for what goes on the press; it may inspire people to use the ‘exposure’ opportunity for something better. If we look at the progress of last month of ‘nepalese twitter community’ what do you think triggered (i) Tweet for Cause and (ii) Tweet Debate? I may be criticised for threading these happenings, but I am sure it has somewhere, in some aspect, played its part. I think all it has done is trying to give a shape, a meaning and a good one. :) Happy tweeting.
    On btw, its 140, not 144 :)

    • Thanks Rabindra. Issue of privacy has a lot of grey area and I think “legal” and “practical” are two completely different things. To be frank, there is nothing called ‘privacy’. There is an old saying “Guard your purse and don’t blame the thieves!” A statement of Google CEO Eric Schmidt in August of 2010 says volume – people will have to change their names to escape ‘cyber past’.

      In my opinion, every newspaper should evaluate its contents in terms of “cost” and “benefit”. I think the “cost” of publishing the tweets are (i)negative feelings on a few people like me (I wish it is only ‘few’) and (ii)negative feelings on people whose Tweets are not published, in spite of their effort. Talking about ‘Benefits’ – I don’t see much benefits, apart from promoting of Tweeter site. (I don’t think anything triggered @TFCnepal or #tweetdebate).
      Thank you for pointing out the the character thingy … corrected!

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