Old media meets new media @Twitter


POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2009

Three leaders of Hawaii's social networking scene gawked at the technology your columnist set on the table at yesterday's small-scale Tweet-up.

That is a meet-up for users of Twitter, in case neither your vocabulary nor your life has been infected with made-up words starting in Tw- used frequently within the addicting online community. is a free online service that enables users to converse, 140 characters at a time, with other users that they choose to follow.

Twitter is a conversation site that enables people with similar interests to talk with each other - and many others - in real-time.

The jaw-dropping technology, by the way, was a cassette tape recorder.

“;I didn't know they still make those,”; said Jared Kuroiwa, director of interactive strategy at KGMB-TV, known to his Twitter followers as @KGMB9.

Bringing a chisel and slates to the meeting was considered, but rejected for fear they would have made the purse too weighty.

Kuroiwa's Twitter avatar, or “;face,”; is the station's logo and he uses his Twitter account to post headlines and links to stories and video on the station's Web site.

Hawaii online community pioneer Ryan Ozawa, or @hawaii to his Tweeps (Twitter peeps, or people), said he does not always have 30 minutes to commit to watching a newscast. However, through Kuroiwa's postings on Twitter, Ozawa is more engaged with KGMB's content than any other station's. “;Though I wouldn't show up on the ratings for KGMB,”; he said.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, KITV, CNN and many other news outlets also post headlines and links on Twitter, but relatively few have a live person behind the presence that engages with other users.

Neenz Faleafine, chief evangelist for online magazine rack, has also welcomed exposure to new local, national and international news sources through Twitter.

Twitter is used by many businesses, large and small, in differing ways.

The day AT&T mobile phone service failed in Hawaii, company officials used Twitter to provide updates on service restoration and how to obtain refunds. Twitter users who were also AT&T customers that day, for the most part went from angry to assuaged and partially refunded.

Faleafine and other users often “;re-tweet,”; or repost items for their own strings of followers posts by others, to spread the word of mouth.

“;The referrals are amazing,”; Faleafine (@NEENZ) said. She has more than 3,000 followers, @hawaii has nearly 3,000 and @KGMB9 has nearly 1,300. (Your columnist, @erikaengle since August, has nearly 1,200.)

Pause a moment for advertising executives to calculate the cost-per-thousand value of all those impressions.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).