If this journalist wonders about the state of the profession (which he loves or thinks he does) and how low it has fallen, he has to wonder how in the world (to be very, very polite) can anyone with an ounce of intelligence misquote a tweet, my tweet. It’s only 140 characters!!!!! And any computer can copy and paste, right??? It should be easy to quote a tweet, right? Wrong!
As an author, I regularly check myself in Google and to my horror I have found that a misquoted tweet from me has gone around the planet, thanks to AFP, appearing in newspapers in Canada and the world (thanks AFP).
So back to the beginning, I was following the debate about Elections Canada, which has the misfortune to enforce an antiquated law meant to promote election fairness across this vast country. Elections Canada reminded Canadians that it was illegal to reveal election results from one time zone to another.
Most of the debate on Twitter was about ordinary citizens doing the revelation by tweeting. But, of course, the news media around the world are not bound by Canada’s rules and can report the results freely. We’ve seen this on U.S. television for decades. On the last election night, when I was still working for CBC, one of my jobs was to note sites and blogs that published the election results and write a story (that of course would not have gone up on the CBC election site until the polls closed in BC). The first, if I remember correctly, for 2008, was a TV station in Atlanta.
So in the midst of the online debate, at 09:28, April 21, I tweeted
The Elections Canada ban is irrelevant. Watch for tweets from @bbcbreaking, @CNNbrk, @reuters, @AP, @BNO #elxn41 #novotetweet
But when AFP wrote the story, the wire service moved only the first few words, not the complete quote.
The earliest use after my Tweet that I can find is the Calgary Herald and this is how AFP reported it:
Author Robin Rowland, tweeted from Kitimat, British Columbia: “The Elections Canada ban is irrelevant. Watch for tweets.”