ANDY CARVIN: THE MAN WHO TWEETS REVOLUTIONS
Who is Andy Carvin?
The social media strategist for US public service radio broadcaster NPR.
What does he do?
He aggregates and verifies real-time news through Twitter. He has become a leading player in newsgathering and open source journalism.
Revolutions, natural disasters or presidential elections – these are all rich ground for exploring real-time breaking news, with verification a big part of the filtering process.
News organisations have become increasingly fascinated by Carvin’s experiments as the value of insight, and the expertise required in aggregating and filtering information on social networks, has become more apparent.
How does it aggregate and filter information?
Wherever possible, Carvin starts with someone he knows and has met in person, but if not he’ll observe their online activity, and judge whether they have a tendency for exaggeration or are pushing their own agenda too heavily to be reliable.
Carvin’s approach is to understand the relevant social media tool as intimately as possible, and then work out how to apply it in different situations. And it’s not all about Twitter; he also uses YouTube, Flickr or Facebook.
On anonymity (& Google Plus)
“The reality is that many of my sources would not be alive today if they weren’t working under pseudonyms. They are working under difficult circumstances to get information out.”
“Users will go to communities and tools that suit their own needs as well, so we see a lot of dissidents using these tools because they feel they have certain amount of control.”
What Carvin has learned on Twitter:
- Hashtags are only really useful when a news story first breaks on Twitter, when they help identify the closest sources and provide context, but they lose value if they become too heavily used.
- Twitter is a self-correcting debunker of false information.
- Seemingly inane tweets about breakfast habits are about people reinforcing their relationships with each other.
Source: The Guardian