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Telegraph Twitterfall – where did it all go wrong?

April 20, 2009

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I think it’s a shame the Telegraph pulled its Twitterfall (screengrab above) earlier this afternoon.

For the uninitiated, Twitterfall – or Twitterfail as it’s being called now – is a widget for websites that pulls in a live cascading feed of hash-tagged words.

The Telegraph, on its website, had one for the tag “budget” and also any mention of Alistair Darling, but it soon became the target of abuse – although from a travel point of view, I did notice Travellerspoint get in on the act pretty quickly with this shameless promotional tweet.

First off, I think it’s great that the Telegraph uses social media tools like Twitterfall – and it’s a shame it went wrong. There could have been some interesting debate going on, had they left it longer.

It may have had to pull it owing to the extreme profanities. It was pure schoolboy humour, and I’ll admit some of it was funny – but after watching it for a while, it was in fact the same people abusing the system, or else people retweeting that small handful of people.

If they’d stuck with it, people would have got bored, and it could have served its purpose. Anyway, the amount of blogs about this are in a way promoting the Telegraph’s website (Financial Times’ Alphaville got in there in record time; journalism.co.uk and the Guardian), so I think they’ve won in this case

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2009 5:49 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Nice coverage of this today – but I really think that they had to take it down. Brits being British – it really could have ended up anywhere, and it was on a pretty prominent place on their website.

    It was a good idea that wasn’t really thought through – and it’s a shame because it did all add up to a PR nightmare for them. I’m still of the opinion that you can’t really give people full access – there is still a need for an editor or moderator in the process at some point.

    They were a little too eager and it ended up being quite funny. There will be plenty of the old media lot who think that this is very funny, and the new media brigade could do with learning a lesson or two.

    Good coverage and a nice little post.

    Peter

  2. matthewparsons permalink*
    April 20, 2009 6:14 pm

    Thanks for the comment Peter.

    I guess it was on a pretty prominent place on the website, but I still think they should have left it longer… defintely a case of old media clashing with new media.

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