It was a fun night at The Carlu in honour of the launch of Twitter Canada. I arrived for the last hour of the event, because sadly it got underway at 3pm in the afternoon a hard hour to maneuver when deadlines are on the horizon. My late arrival meant that I missed the presentations by Lisa Tant and Twitter Canada’s managing director Kirstine Stewart. Fortunately, I did arrive in time to reacquaint myself with familiar faces and get a bit of the scoop of Twitter’s Canadian operations.
At first this clash of worlds may have seemed like they were there to support their former boss and colleague, Kirstine Stewart. Stewart, prior to Twitter Canada was the head of programming at CBC and was in the midst of a rejuvenation project of Canada’s national broadcaster. Her departure to Twitter seemed like a strange hire, but in the world of how Twitter is used, it makes perfect sense. One of Twitter’s many uses include “second screen”.
As people watch their favourite tv shows they share on Twitter in communities defined by hashtags. Apparently, in the earlier session I missed, Twitter Amplify was revisited. A tool that hinges on the culture of second screen and the related conversations. That means that Canadian media has an opportunity to have promoted tweets, integrated video content and more opportunities to hashtag everything under the sun.
So in all why Twitter Canada? Well, in the early days, it’s not a spot for innovation, it’s a sales office. Reaching out and connecting traditional media to the digital world via Twitter’s social platform. It’s a baby step, and it seems on the surface it could be a solid one. However, for a country where 1 in 4 are watching more online content then TV, it won’t be enough to stop anyone from abandoning cable. I’m not convinced that it’s sustainable to make traditional media more digitally integrated to a population of netizens who are warming up to the idea of “chord cutting” (unsubscribing to cable).
Furthermore, integrating the tenants of nettiquette to traditional media types seems like a modern day no-brainer. But, even now as they report excitedly on the launch of Twitter Canada and the pending value to Canadians – they all failed – from MacLean’s to Canada.com – to even cite Twitter Canada’s twitter account, Kirstine Stewart’s account ID, reference tweets or even share a hashtag! You’re talking about Twitter, so where’s the Tweets?
But, yes… Twitter has to start somewhere in Canada, and with Kirstine Stewart at the helm, they might have a fighting chance to get Canada’s (notoriously slow to adapt new traditions) traditional media to adopt Twitter’s awesome power. I just don’t know if they’re going to know how to use it.
Methinks there’s some consulting opportunities for Nat&Marie in the wings…
Here’s some of the tweets from last night:
— Tattsjane (@tattsjane) June 14, 2013
— Patrick Mott (@PatrickMott) June 14, 2013