When the winner of Best Local Twitter Feed has inspired a fake account, you know people have gone with a good choice. I also know this was the right choice because, of the however-many recommendations I made on the Dog Blog leading up to the end of voting for the Best of Regina, @patthebook taking this category was the only one I got right.
I chatted with @patthebook, A.K.A. radio reporter and music blogger extraordinaire Patrick Book, via Twitter direct message about his win, meaning we were sending batches of 140-character responses back and forth. I felt it would be appropriate. After the unconventional interview, Book told me he had “answered most of these questions family-Thanksgiving-level drunk”, so keep that in mind.
Also, be sure to check out all the winners here.
Read that Q&A after the jump.
First up, do you remember what first got you on Twitter?
Not at all but I remember being deeply cynical about it. Facebook ruined me for social media. I love Twitter but I’ll never use another one. To clarify: I thought the idea of 140 character limits was useless and asinine. But it demands creativity and cleverness.
How did you adapt to those restrictions?
It was a learning curve. I’m a stickler for grammar and punctuation, I refuse to sacrifice that. I don’t write “R u 4 rlz?” I’d rather die! I often have to re-write a message two or three times to get it right. I do more drafts for Twitter posts than I do for news stories.
Wow. Given how much you do tweet, that seems like a whole bunch of work.
Yeah, @c_hodges from CTV calculated that I tweet well over 200 times a day. There are a lot of retweets; I like to share things I enjoy. It comes in waves. If I’ve had a good sleep that’s when I’m at my cleverest. Also depends on interaction, if people tweet back. Conversing!
You’ve always seemed committed to the social aspect of Twitter. Is it ever tempting to just put stuff out there, neglecting the rest?
Its tough. As a journalist I have to refrain from giving my opinion on contentious stories. Thankfully, a RT without comment is ambiguous. I’m also employed in private media so if I want to comment on one of our talk hosts’ topics or opinions I have to be cautious. On being “social”: ironically I’m not great at meeting or talking to new people. I assumed you’re supposed to interact on twitter so I do.
You’re one of a bunch of Saskatchewan journalists who tweet a bunch. Has following and talking with them on Twitter helped or hurt your work?
It has changed everything — the window of exclusivity on breaking news is minuscule. As soon as one outlet tweets it everyone else is on it. The one thing social media has going for it is that its MUCH easier to find/contact people. Everyone’s on Facebook or Twitter. Tweeting has also helped me interact better with other reporters. They realize I have a personality even if I’m not chatty in person. My boss, @saskmur has also spent 8 years trying to get me to write more conversationally and concisely. Being a good Twitterer has helped.
Hypothetical: You’re still tweeting in one year’s time. Who’s your biggest competition for Best Local Twitter Feed then?
Tough! I LOVE @CostaMaragosCBC but he’s very specific to the news and CBC’s shop. @MMandryk just started but he’s the funniest journo. @danmacrae is another, everything he says/writes is fantastically hilarious. @emmetmatheson is one of my favourite ex-pats, if he counts.
Maybe if @MMandryk started doing tweet pics of himself a la @CostaMaragosCBC, that’d be the juggernaut needed to take you down.
Actually Costa upsets me. He’s pretty cavalier with spelling and grammar at times. [@MMandryk’s] on his way now that he has that adorable photo of his dog on there. I’m sure you know, I’m partial to small animals.
Well, your avatar alone. Jeez, that’s some uncut cute right there.
I’m pretty sure the only reason @SLangeneggerCBC talks to me is because she loves the pig in boots so damn much.
Last question: what do you think you’ll do with your certificate?
I always wanted to put my diploma in the bathroom like Samson did in that Weakerthans song. I don’t think my pals @prairiedogmag would mind.