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Dave Winer didn’t say that. I did. Mea Culpa.

February 13, 2011 · 3 comments

After I asked if @DaveWiner would like a correction tweeted, he asked me for “a blog post, in English, with your real name on it, that explains why you did what you did.” This is it. It includes:

I’m taking a few extra words here, as misquoting the “founder of blogging” when he speaks about the future of microblogging deserves a solid correction 🙂

What did I do?

I sent out a tweet that ended in “…HT @DaveWiner” from my @TweetSmarter account.

First, what does HT mean? According to the Blogossary, “Hat tip [HT] is an acknowledgement to someone (or a website) for bringing something to [your] attention.

What did Dave bring to my attention?

Dave brought to my attention a particular turn of a phrase describing Twitter’s global reach. However, I got the context and the meaning of his words wrong. Here’s what happened:

I was reading some quotes on the value of Twitter, in particular some of the differences between Facebook and Twitter, and looking for Twitter articles when I came across Dave’s post “Why Twitter is so valuable.” It coalesced for me that a value of Twitter’s free connections is that it makes Twitter global, while Facebook is more for just your friends.

Dave’s post is very short, and includes things like

  • “Napster had captured the entire online music activity under one roof.”
  • “Same with Twitter. The whole of the microblogging world is under their roof.
  • “Twitter [c]ould sweep the whole news landscape into its domain. To have almost exclusive control of the flow of news for a large portion of the world.”

I wrote down “Twitter lets you connect to the world under one roof,” not intending it as a quote from Dave, but as a reminder of something to tweet about, which eventually I drafted into two tweets:

  • #WhyTwitterMatters Twitter is the whole world under one roof.
  • On Facebook, you can reach some friends. On Twitter…you can reach the world. #PowerOfTwitter

Where did I go wrong?

First, the problem was exacerbated by “HT” being a somewhat obscure abbreviation, making the tweet look to some like an attribution, which it was not intended as.

But mainly, I misremembered Dave’s emphasis on “microblogging” as in, “The whole of the microblogging world is under [Twitter’s] roof.” I didn’t go back and check, because I didn’t realize my memory was off. I was thinking of it approximately as “The whole of the world is under [Twitter’s] roof.” Note that I dropped the word “microblogging” in my mind, as I hadn’t really read his blog post carefully enough; it was just part of the stream of things I was checking about Twitter’s global reach.

The last step before I send a tweet is often to try and ensure I don’t miss anyone I should be attributing something to, so I clicked the link I had saved and saw again that the article had been by @DaveWiner, so I changed my tweet to

#WhyTwitterMatters Twitter is the whole world under one roof. HT @DaveWiner

Meaning in my mind “an idea I got from reading Dave’s blog post” but failing utterly to make that clear, besides the fact of my misreading his writing.

I would also say I went wrong by having a fairly careless attitude towards including usernames in tweets that I send out via @TweetSmarter, being biased towards adding names whenever possible.

This has come about because people are always begging me to mention them from @TweetSmarter, and thanking me when I do, so I tend to lean towards including usernames without too much thought about it. I’ve recognized my careless habit in that area now, and will be more careful in the future.

What should I have done instead?

I should have left Dave’s name off the tweet. Faulty memory, careless approach. My idea came from reading some things about Twitter’s global reach, and then being influenced by finding Dave’s words “whole of the world…under…roof” in relation to Twitter. Didn’t really have much at all to do with what Dave was writing about.

So: Mea culpa.

Dave’s response

After reading this, Dave tweeted:

David Larson explains how the “World Under A Roof” thing got attributed to me. Thanks for clearing the air. 🙂

Retweet Glossary, Syntax and Punctuation
March 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm
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