Look whose Twitter account is set at “Protected”. Ms Maria Ressa who is CEO of “social news network” Rappler.com has set her Twitter profile so that “Only confirmed followers have access to [her] Tweets and complete profile,” and so one needs to “Click the ‘Follow’ button to send a follow request.”
Ressa is a self-described evangelist of the concept of “social media for social change” a framework for change within which Rapper positions itself as “a new player in online journalism that seeks to combine 1) professional journalism with 2) the wisdom of crowdsâ€”through social mediaâ€”and 3) the power of technology to come up with reports that, Ressa said, will hopefully move people to positive action.” Rappler also fancies itself a â€œsocial news networkâ€ that promises “uncompromised journalism that inspires smart conversations and ignites a thirst for change”.
What then does Maria Ressa have to hide from her non-followers?
Perhaps it may have something to do with her hallowed stature in what is really an inbred industry of professional cliques that remain beholden to credentials. But then…
Credentials work for people who need to earn respect before the fact of earning it. But in a mass communications ecosystem that is rapidly flattening thanks to the very technology that the Rappler.com copywriters fail to demonstrate a savvy understanding of, credentials are becoming less relevant. Rather, the ability to persist as a credible source of insight is now built directly upon the merit and quality of what one says and writes consistently. And that is what â€œsocial news networksâ€ ultimately do â€” turn news and the â€œreportersâ€ who â€œreportâ€ them to the no more than the commodities that they are today.
You’d think then that the CEO of Rappler would, herself, embrace the very essence as much as everything that is all about the open and transparent exchange of information that social media makes possible for people in breadth and depth that is unprecedented in history.
Indeed, true social media “practitioners” tend to frown upon people who use protected Twitter account. After all, what is the point? Technology evangelist Adria Richards likened such Twitterzens to closet alcoholics…
Protected Twitter accounts are like going to a party and hiding the closet while you drink from a flaskâ€¦alone
But then PC World writer Phil Shapiro whose Twitter account is protected makes this argument on behalf of his kind…
One last reason I protect my tweets is by looking at the kinds of other people on Twitter who protect their tweets. This is currently a very small percentage, smaller than one percent of all Twitter users. Yet if you examine the kinds of people who protect their tweets, a large majority of these people are what I would characterize as deeply thoughtful people. If deeply thoughtful people tend to protect their tweets, then maybe my decision to protect my tweets was a sound one.
We know of course that Ressa counts herself as a “thought leader” — a title she and a small number of members of what seems to be an elite clique within Rappler fancy themselves to be. But as to whether or not third parties agree with that self-anointment? Perhaps we’d be better off deferring to that “wisdom of crowds” that these “Rapplers” are beholden to for the answer to that question.