Michelle Sullivan Communications

Twitter, Bernard Derome and the way the news is delivered

While Bernard Derome sat at the anchor desk of Radio-Canada’s Le Téléjournal for the last time last night,  Montreal’s start up community gathered at Radio Lounge for a holiday bash called Celebrate Camp. Not able to go, and knowing that the room would be full of geeks with iPhones handy, I kept one eye on my Twitter stream and one eye on the Téléjournal in order to follow what was going within my own personal community and around the world. As PR consultants start to become more familiar with micro-blogging, one thing they’ll realize is that Twitter geeks love to ‘live Tweet’ events. They arm themselves with laptops and iPhones and send short messages to their Twitter account. Speakers beware, this is often done at conferences. No sooner have words passed through your lips than they are reported by a Twit to all his or her followers on Twitter. *

Derome’s last night at the desk went off without a hitch and, while technical glitches limited the amount of Tweeting done at Celebrate Camp that evening, I still had enough material to keep myself entertained. Result? The two-part Xtranormal animation below was produced, by moi, for your amusement.

Without further ado, I present to you, in two parts, A Twitter’s eye view of Celebrate Camp 2008:


After 33 years at the helm of the Téléjournal, Bernard Derome has a unique perspective on many things including politics, society and technology. In both his closing remarks and in a one-hour interview with Michel Désautels which followed the news bulletin, he spoke about journalism and the way news gathering and telling has evolved over the years. How, when he started out, there was no such thing as production meetings and how, now, journalists live on their Blackberries. Most tellingly, he spoke about his wish that technology not get in the way of thoughtful journalism. For Derome, the biggest change over the last years has been the acceleration of the rhythm in which journalists are asked to work and report the news. He refers to this as ‘Blackberry journalism’ and says that he hopes that journalists .. and, consequently, society in general .. remember the importance of taking the time to step back in order to put things in perspective.

As Quebecor’s Sun Media cuts staff and monuments like the Chicago Tribune see their parent company file for bankruptcy protection, it’s important to keep Derome’s words in mind.  In a world where bloggers and Twits report on events hours before the daily newspaper hits the sidewalk, the industry has no choice but to evolve. From Mumbai to Obama’s election and the prorogation of the Canadian parliament, we’ve seen how Twitter has been used in the sharing of information. Regardless, the kind of thoughtful journalism Derome speaks of should never go out of style, in my mind. He’s right in that it offers the kind of analysis and perspective that remains critical as our society makes decisions and shapes its future.

Twitter is instantaneous, short, and perfect for a fast-food consumer world that wants everything delivered as quickly as possible.

I suspect that as the days go on, my impression of last night’s Celebrate Camp event will change as others help fill in the blanks, on Twitter, in conversation, on blogs and, who knows, if anything newsworthy really happened, in the pages of the Gazette or La Presse.


* Twitter lexicon:

Twitter = the microblogging platform itself.

Twit = someone who uses Twitter.

Tweet = a Twitter message of 140 characters or less which can include hyperlinks.

Twittering = sending a Tweet

Follower = Other Twits who find your interesting enough to add your Tweets to the stream of other Tweets that appear on their main screen

Retweet = Repeating another Twit’s message for the benefit of your followers, who, because they don’t necessarily follow that Twit, may not have seen it. Often using the abbreviation RT.

Tweeple = People you know on Twitter. Your community.

(Disclosure: Xtranormal is a client. Regardless, I think their animation software is fun and yesterday’s project was not work)

6 things – the summer meme redux

Summer silliness.  Serious readers, avert your eyes.  We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program as of the next blog post.

So here is the classic 6 things summer meme, 2008 edition.

Dave tagged Bob.  Bob tagged me and other tag-victims including Laurent Lasalle, Stevie Z, John Meadows, Tom Lucier, and Mark Blevis.

The game? Post six random things that people didn’t know about you (me).

Random rules (hat tip to Connie Crosby):
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So in the spirit of community … which is what social media is all about after all … here we go:

1. I’m a Franco-Ontarian, not a born-and-bred Montrealer : grew up in beautiful Bramalea, north of Toronto.  My Irish father kidnapped (no, not really) my Québécoise mother and brought her into hostile territory during Expo 67.  She barely spoke English.  He didn’t speak a word of French. I guess they connected on another level.

2. It’s like nails scraping down a chalkboard for me when waiters bring a basket of bread to the table with those little plastic butter containers plopped in there like that.  Ugh.

3. I’m about to launch a podcast under a pseudonym with a friend of mine that will address issue #2, among other things.  Really.  Like any day now.  So there’s a hint for anyone who might be wondering who that magnificient and witty podcast host might be when they hear the show for the first time.

4. My best friends are Polish punks-cum-dub reggae musicians.  I adore them and wish I could be on tour with them right now.

5. I also adore my wonderful 21 month old nephew Caleb.  (wait .. that’s like the worst-kept secret on Facebook.  Scratch that.)

5. I secretly want to do a podcast on cemeteries and death, and take my show on the road while I’m in Varanasi, but am afraid only teenage goths would be listening.  The working title, Les cimetières n’ont pas de cannibales (cemeteries don’t have cannibals)  was from a surrealist Belgian poet named Guégan.  I haunt cemeteries.  They’re my favourite places.  Some of my boyfriends actually liked that about me.  Others tolerated it, a little bemused. Yes, I’m single now.

6. I was a very picky eater as a child.  When I didn’t like something (usually meat) I’d toss it nonchalently under the dining room table.  We didn’t have a dog or cat at the time.  My mother never said a word.  When I mentioned it to her years later she blinked and said she just thought we were messy eaters. 

So tag, you’re it: Bob LeDrew, Dave Fleet, Tod Maffin, M-C Turgeon,  Sébastien Provencher and .. why not .. David Usher.  Now that’s an interesting list.