Commentary: $44 billion can buy Twitter, but it can’t buy respect
If you want to be a public figure and be taken seriously, you can’t just be a public figure. You need to be respected, be acknowledged as being one of the people, and be the subject of serious media coverage.
Or, at least that is what Twitter’s top leaders apparently believe.
I find it impossible to believe that the chief executive of Twitter, Dick Costolo, would say something so out of touch with what most Twitter users think. And in fact, I don’t think anyone else at Twitter believes Costolo has such an attitude.
But Costolo’s attitude isn’t newsworthy — unless you are a newsroom professional. A journalist, a TV producer, a media executive, are all professional journalists and media people. All have careers based on the idea that when you’re talking about the people who matter most to you, the people around you are secondary.
It is a worldview defined by their roles in the business. It’s so deeply embedded that reporters, for example, have a “topics” list on their desk where they are supposed to filter everything.
I have heard Costolo speak many times on different topics. He has always expressed the view that social media is in some ways an extension of the traditional publishing business. If you want to be a public figure and be taken seriously, he says, you have to be respected.
In fact, I always thought of Costolo’s attitude as a bit patronizing, since it seems to imply that people in the news business have some special insight to the world.
But that is not the case.
Journalists, TV producers, media executives are all professional journalists and media people. All have careers based on the idea that when you are talking about people who matter most to you, they are secondary.
And that’s where the problem with the “topics” list comes in.
When your job is to present news, it is imperative that you talk about the people that matter most to you. You have to talk about the reporters and editors who work for you, the producers of the shows you cover, the executives whose decisions