One of the bloggers over at ScienceBlogs, this happy looking guy at left, seems to have a real problem with people (me) interpreting Twitter feeds in ways that perhaps the originators didn’t intend (or like).
I don’t follow Twitter feeds, though my blog does provide a feed to notice new posts. That’s all I use it for.
I find it hilarious that James Hrynyshyn can get upset about this, citing my “lack of research into a Twitter quote”, which I found on the Bishop Hill Blog in this post http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/1/16/mooney-on-climategate.html
(note the h/t to Bish and quote in my original article)
But truth is often stranger than fiction.
Had Bishop Hill not noticed and blogged on it, this lone tweet would never have been known by me, because as I said I don’t follow Twitter feeds. Bishop Hill’s blog is where it started, but it seems you missed that story and the 109 comments with it.
And while we are in the vein of Hrynyshyn’s “no serious journalist uses Twitter” discussion, I’ll point out that NYT’s Andy Revkin seems to put quite a bit of substance into Twitter.
Mr. Hrynyshyn laments the 140 character limit as not being worthy of a serious journalist.
“The point is, why would anyone ever assume that a tweet was accurate, representative or useful for anything more than a starting point for further research. I mean, there’s only 140 characters to go on…”
Well, newsflash buddy, radio/TV sound bytes and quotes in newspaper articles aren’t much different in size. Take this quote in yesterday’s Guardian from NASA GISS Scientist Dr. Gavin Schmidt, International Man of Mystery, who sounded the alarm on the impossible claims of a climate paper:
In an email, Gavin Schmidt, a Nasa climatologist wrote: “2.4C by 2020 (which is 1.4C in the next 10 years – something like six to seven times the projected rate of warming) has no basis in fact.”
Let’s see…using this free online tool, it counts 137 characters for Gavin, including punctuation. That’s comfortably a tweet sized quote in a major globally read newspaper.
But, being the big evil tweet mangling guy that I am who doesn’t apparently understand the role of full context journalism, I offered my forum to Dr. Petersen in good faith to allow his side of his story (with fuller context) to be told, even though I’m not in agreement with him on many issues.
Unfortunately Mr. Hrynyshyn while at the same time bashing me for “incomplete Twitter research” (my take on his post) and supposedly holding a grudge, doesn’t do any research of his own at all and misses the facts as to why Dr. Peterson and I are at odds over surface data.
Dr. Peterson ghost wrote a critique of the surfacestations project via NCDC:
Science done anonymously from a government agency to harangue a nationwide citizen effort (650 volunteers) where we found only 1 in 10 climate stations in compliance with NOAA’s most basic 100 foot rule? It seems rather revealing that Dr. Petersen would not put his name to that. Unfortunately for him he did, but just didn’t know it at the time and he got exposed for it.
And then later, his NCDC companions “borrowed” (against my protests) my preliminary non quality controlled data (published on the website for the volunteers to check progress and compare notes) to beat me to publishing a paper before we had the surfacestations project even finished:
That’s “quality science” according to Hrynyshyn? Heh. It’s more like a dark political game if you ask me. On the plus side, being first does not always mean being best.
Dr. Peterson and the 2011 Sci bloggers conference have probably learned a valuable lesson. If you don’t want people to write about something without full context, don’t provide a live Twitter feed left hanging in the Ether afterwards without also providing a recording of the live video/audio feed afterwards.
Having a live feed of an event is great, but not everyone can catch it; as Bish lamented: “I discovered the talk too late to pick up the live stream…“. A video/audio recording is what’s really needed. I looked for one, and found none that day I wrote about Peterson’s “knife fight” comment. It’s dead now:
I would venture that if you don’t want people to draw conclusions you don’t like from Twitter, don’t use it to post a stream of snippeted consciousness. But they seemed pretty big on the idea of Tweets, as it got top billing on the website header:
In fact, they seem pretty darned proud of all the @scio11 tweets, as the top entry in the Scio2011 conference blog displays:
Gosh, almost 10,000 tweets from 1200 contributors and 3000 tweets the day that Dr. Petersen spoke. It seems like a veritable Tweet Orgy. But Mr. Hrynyshyn seems to think that I should not have paid any attention at all to this mass of well advertised (and apparently proud of) tweeting. He writes:
Clearly, the major offender here was not Chris Rowan, but Anthony Watts
For those who don’t know, Chris Rowan of Highly Allochtonous is the guy who made the tweet about Dr. Peterson. He made no follow ups to explain the context, as his next few tweets on his feed show (timeline runs bottom to top):
It seems nobody else was much concerned about the “knife fight” context then either. Ditto for the main Scio2011 Twitter feed at the same time:
Had Scio2011 provided a web accessible recording of their live video/audio feed, anybody could check the context in which Dr. Peterson delivered the “knife fight” remark. As it stands now, many (involved or not) seem to be speculating about the context that Petersen delivered that remark.
So if there’s any recording from the conference, let’s settle that issue once and for all by putting up a video/audio recording of the 2011 Sci Bloggers conference during the session Dr. Peterson spoke in, so we can all see exactly what that context was.
So far, the video recordings they’ve produced out of Scio2011 amount to a whole lotta nothing. Hopefully that’s just a temporary oversight while everyone is letting their thumbs recover.
UPDATE: Bishop Hill writes in comments:
I actually emailed the organisers about when the archive of the “knife fight” session would be available. No reply.