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The Australian media editor: ‘Twitter could go the way of CB radio’

ABC's Annabel Crabb; The Australian's Stephen Brook

Twitter could go the way of CB radios and die off, Stephen Brook, media editor of the Australian has said.

The comment came from Brook at the Mumbrella360 conference in a session about the relationship between Twitter and journalism.

The session also included The ABC’s Annabel Crabb, Ten’s Breakfast presenter Magdalena Roze and Crikey cartoonist First Dog On the Moon, also known as Andrew Marlton.

Brook said: “I came up with a slightly provocative idea that Twitter could be the new CB radio, i.e. something that was hugely popular for a short time, but became faddish and then died away. We have to remind ourselves that Twitter is only six years old. Predicting its future is somewhat difficult.”

Brook went on to say that Facebook is not only three times more popular, but engaged users more than Twitter.

“What is apparent now and will always be the case throughout our lifetimes is that Facebook is much more popular. We think there is about 140m active users worldwide on Twitter. Facebook has something like 800m.”

“For news platforms and media organisations, Facebook is often far more useful in directing traffic to your website. All the metrics show Facebook users are more engaged, they spend longer on that platform than Twitter. They’re bringing more audiences into websites.”

Brook went on to explain the slow adoption of some sectors of the Australian public, such as the elderly, the poor and those in regional and remote areas, to new technologies combined with a struggling mainstream media could widen a gap between journalism and the consumer.

Brook said there are still 21% of Australian homes without a home computer and 25% without broadband. The number of the public online who don’t have a smartphone is more than half while the number of households without a tablet is 80%.

Nevertheless, Brook said: “They still deserve quality journalism and as newspapers circulation dwindle and distribution areas are cut, we need to be very careful they don’t get left behind.”

Brook did however give reasons as to why his initial dismissal that Twitter was not a place for serious journalism was out of hand.

Elsewhere in the session, Crabb discussed the moment she fell in love with Twitter while Marlton explained why Twitter is excellent for hanging shit on journalists.

The next Mumbrella360 conference takes place on June 5 and 6, 2013.

The journalism and Twitter session was curated by Kym Druitt of EckFactor PR.

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