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)

La guignolée des médias sociaux et numériques – première édition

Comme quoi la communauté des blogueurs ne manque pas de générosité, nous appuyons en grand nombre le projet de Grande guignolée des médias sociaux et numériques proposé par Michelle Blanc.

J’appuie déjà deux de ces organismes, et vous invite donc à vous joindre à moi en faisant preuve de générosité durant cette période économique difficile. Même si le montant est minime, le geste de solidarité est important.

Et si vous êtes blogueur, joignez vous à la cause en visitant le site web et en affichant votre propre bannière.

Donnez! Guignolée des médias sociaux et numériques

5 good reasons to use Twitter for media relations

Tweet by Vancouver Sun tech reporter Gillian Shaw, sent out today:

Who was asking the best way to deliver a press release? This gets an A++. Plus it came in a tweet, even better. http://com.motionpoll.ca/

In fact, unless I’m mistaken, it was me. Wednesday. I jumped into a Twitter conversation Gillian was having about PR pitches gone bad and asked her for her preference in press release delivery methods.

A couple of lessons to retain:

1. Reporters, particularly tech reporters, can be found on Twitter.

2. Connecting to journalists on Twitter lets you engage them in conversation, track their preferences and understand their needs. Gillian Shaw, for example, feels like she’s drowning in email, prefers a 140 character or less pitch and seems to appreciate a PR Squared-inspired social media release with multimedia components. Now I know. Do you think she’ll be getting an email pitch from me from this point forward? Not likely.

3. Twitter profiles show you who journalists are following. It’s always good to get to know an influencer’s influencers. Chances are they’re interesting.

4. Twitter is generally a great source of information, providing links to reports like com.motion’s study which shows that Canadian businesses are investing in social media. (« 2nd Annual com.motion-Pollara Social Media Barometer reveals 82% will spend as much or more on social media despite economic downturn »)

5. Twitter lets you listen in on conversations, keep your ear to the ground and follow journalists (and experts) in the fields which interest you.

So, all of this begs the question. Why aren’t you on Twitter?

You can join me at http://twitter.com/msullivan

Google zeitgeist : sex down, politics up

Google has just released the results of its annual analysis of search queries, in what they call the Google Zeitgeist 2008.

Global results are as follows:

Fastest rising:

sarah palin
beijing 2008
facebook login
tuenti (The Spanish Facebook)
heath ledger
nasza klasa (The Polish Facebook)
wer kennt wen (The German Facebook)
euro 2008
jonas brothers

Jonas brothers?? And it would appear that every single Polish-Canadian is on nasza klasa because there just aren’t that many Polish-Canadians out there (984,585 claimed full or partial Polish ancestry in the 2001 census)

Google also provides results by region. Here’s what Canadians searched for in 2008:

As our lists suggest, 2008 has seen high interest among Canadians in politics, web tools, the Olympics, and basic information – maps, weather, games. Figures from Obama to Britney captured Canadians’ attention, and several free services grew in popularity, such as Kijiji, a classifieds website, and Surf the Channel, a website dedicated to TV. Canadians turned to news sources from around the world and, in the gadget realm, showed keen interest in “smart phones” and other portable electronics.

Fastest Rising: Obama

Most popular: Facebook

Top political parties: The Green Party

Top celebrities: Britney Spears

Top news sources: CBC

Top personal electronics: Palm Treo (iPhone was ranked number eight)

Google obviously didn’t limit their survey to the Montreal geek community, because the iPhone was an obsession among its members. Not sure I heard them speak once about the Palm Treo.

As for sex, well, last year the Top of Mind ‘how to’ was how to kiss. This year, having learned how to kiss, we must not have enjoyed it very much, because the Top of Mind ‘how to’ is how to draw. Apparently, we have some sexual frustration to exorcise.

Thanks to my good friend Roberto Lima for pointing this study out through … wait for it … Facebook.

ed’s note: Just realizing my mistake. Nasza klasa (The Polish Facebook) is trending on Global and not Canadian results. Still interesting, since Polish is ranked 24th in the world, with only 46 million speakers, compared with 1.051 billion speaking Mandarin Chinese (ranked 1st). Google supports what it calls ‘traditional’ and ‘simplified’ Chinese. The Chinese counterpart to Facebook is called Xiaonei.

Blogueurs : manifestez vous. Insistez sur le respect de la liberté d’expression sur Internet.

Je milite en faveur des droits humains depuis toujours. Membre d’un comité consultatif d’Équitas, le Centre international d’éducation aux droits humains, j’offre également un appui à Moisson Montréal et à La Société de Saint Vincent de Paul de Montréal, organismes qui apportent de la dignité aux québécois peu fortunés.

En ce 60e anniversaire de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme (dont le canadien et membre fondateur d’Équitas John P. Humphrey était l’architecte), je propose que nous, les blogueurs, posions aujourd’hui un geste concret afin d’assurer le respect de la liberté d’expression sur Internet, et ce dans le monde entier.

Selon Amnesty International:

Des cas de répression exercée contre des internautes sont signalés dans des pays tels que l’Arabie saoudite, la Chine, l’Iran, la Syrie, la Tunisie et le Viêt-Nam. Des gens sont espionnés, surveillés, persécutés et emprisonnés uniquement parce qu’ils ont, sur Internet, critiqué leur gouvernement, appelé à la démocratie ou à une plus grande liberté de la presse ou encore dénoncé des atteintes aux droits humains.

(…) des entreprises du secteur des technologies de l’information ont participé à l’élaboration de systèmes de surveillance et de censure des informations mises en ligne. Ainsi, Yahoo! a transmis aux autorités chinoises des informations personnelles sur des titulaires de comptes de messagerie électronique, ce qui a facilité des emprisonnements injustifiés. D’autre part, Microsoft et Google se sont l’un et l’autre pliés aux exigences des autorités chinoises qui leur ont demandé de censurer activement les utilisateurs chinois de leurs services.

Je vous invite à signer, dès aujourd’hui, la déclaration d’Amnesty International en faveur de la liberté d’information et d’expression sur Internet:

Je pense qu’Internet devrait contribuer à l’exercice de la liberté politique et non à la répression. Les gens ont le droit de rechercher et de recevoir des informations ainsi que d’exprimer en ligne leurs opinions pacifiques, sans crainte et sans entrave.

J’exhorte les gouvernements à cesser de restreindre de manière abusive l’exercice de la liberté d’expression, et les entreprises à cesser de les y aider.

Et si vous doutez de l’importance de poser ce geste, je vous invite à consulter les témoignages (audio et vidéo) des militants qui ont participé au Programme international de formation aux droits humains d’Équitas. Choisissez la région qui vous intéresse et accédez aux extraits. Si vous ne savez pas par où commencer, je vous propose d’écouter (en anglais) le témoignage d’Arwa, militante du Moyen Orient. Ces témoignages sont à partager dans votre réseau, car comme les événements des derniers jours nous ont démontré, nous ne devons jamais prendre pour acquis nos droits en tant que citoyens d’une démocratie comme le Canada.

Surveillez l’évolution du site d’Équitas, qui prend ses premiers pas vers un virage stratégique qui englobera davantage les médias sociaux. À suivre.