Posted by: pberry | September 15, 2009

The real story in the Obama/Kanye flap internet is abuzz right now with two things: People tweeting “Nobody puts baby in a corner” and talk of President Obama’s off-the-record comments about Kanye West. I’ve never seen Dirty Dancing, but I have seen journalists miss the real story. And that’s what happening with Obama and Kanye.

The truth is, neither the POTUS or the T.O. of hip-hop are the story here. No one, on either side of the isle, should be all that shocked by what the President said. Whether you love him or hate him (and I feel lonely in the vast plain of space inbetween), this sort of off-the-record comment is not out of character. President Obama, like those who came before him, knows when the camera is rolling and behaves accordingly. Less popular behavior, like smoking, comes when the cameras are off.

The story isn’t what he said. It’s that it was reported at all.

Twitter is the real story.

What kept me out of twitter for a long time was the fear of having a stream of conscious medium. My first reaction is rarely my best one. I need to filter and process thoughts before telling the whole world.

The more you use twitter professionally, the more you must approach your tweets with care. And the more professionals use twitter, the more mistakes we’ll see. It takes time to get used to a new media outlet.

Make no mistake, Twitter is a new media outlet.

I’m sure Terry Moran is wishing he could take a mulligan. He broke journalistic ethics standards and (to the best of my knowledge) didn’t mean to. That’s serious and there may be some repercussions. Maybe he gets snubbed by politicians. Maybe he’ll have a beer at the White House to talk it through while the world criticizes his choice in libation. Maybe he’ll raise $1,000,000 for a political campaign because people are so eager to show their displeasure for the President that they will support poor behavior.

Or maybe another celebrity will die and we’ll all move on.

But don’t miss the real story. Twitter is a mighty tool. Use it carefully.

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