In Canadian media, is it just the same small group of journalists and news organizations who consume one another’s tweets and the content that said tweets contain? Or is the influence broader than that?

Chantal Hébert took on Twitter and journalists’ use of it at the 32nd annual Minifie Lecture at the University of Regina last night.

She says journalists are mistaken if they believe they are getting a representative view if they’re looking at Twitter. “The people who are on Twitter – they’re junkies,” Hébert said. Ordinary people, such as teachers or the person who delivers her mail, Hébert said, don’t stop what they’re doing to check in on Twitter or update their status.

What Twitter has done, she argues, is created a neat little bubble in which a concentrated group of users purport most of the participation. Based on data released last year, this assertion holds some merit – according to this infographic, not even a quarter of Twitter users check in more than once per day, and only 18 per cent of total internet users in Canada are even on Twitter.  

“If our window the world is Twitter, We are basically talking to a super engaged, super interesting, but super disconnected audience — like us.” Hébert said, prompting laughter from the audience.

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But her main point was not said in jest: “[Twitter] is not a window to the world — it’s a mirror,” she said.

You can listen to the clip here on CBC.

What do you think? In Canadian media, is it just the same small group of journalists and news organizations who consume one another’s tweets and the content that said tweets contain? Or is the influence broader than that?