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Thoughts on Using Other People’s Twitter Posts

I see that using other people’s twitter posts has become a bit of an issue after Tom Brevoort noted that he was irked that a Blog@Newsarama post consisted of basically just a collection of C.B. Cebulski Twitter posts.

Regarding Twitter, first off, Twitter is a collection of mini-blog posts. That’s really all it is. It’s a quicker way of making ultra short blog posts (and replies to other people’s posts). I’ve seen some people try to argue that Twitter is more akin to a casual conversation, to which I say, only in the sense that a blog post is akin to a casual conversation. Twitter is just mini blog posts (or mini message board posts, whatever comparison you want to use). In all three cases, your Twitter posts, your blog posts and your forum posts, you’re talking about writings that are your intellectual property, no matter how short in length they might be.

That said, when it comes to citing Twitter posts, if you think of them as blog posts, it really makes it a lot simpler.

To wit, no one cares if you quote a hundred words from a blog post (with a link to the blog post you’re quoting, of course), because that’s just fair use.

However, if you posted an entire blog post without the blogger’s permission, I think we’d all agree that that is not good, right? That’s not fair use.

That was Brevoort’s complaint in this instance. If you collect a pile of CB Cebulski’s Twitter posts on how to break into the comic industry and post them as a piece “How to break into the comic industry,” you’ve basically just posted an entire blog post of Cebulski’s.

Now, as to this particular matter, David Pepose apparently asked for Cebulksi’s permission before doing the post. If so, then there’s no problem. Brevoort has even said that yes, there’s no issue if the person gives permission for you to republish their stuff in that manner.

So, really, this seems to be a pretty simple situation to me.

If you quote a public Twitter post that’s newsworthy (like Warren Ellis talking about Planetary being finished), then fine.

If you quote a whole pile of someone’s Twitter posts without permission (particularly if they are written like Cebulski’s, where it’s clear that it is all part of one larger piece – “how to break into the comic industry”), then not fine.

If you quote a whole pile of someone’s Twitter posts WITH permission, then fine.

I think that’s about that.

21 Comments

Really you should cite your source for anything that is a thought or idea. For news that is a scoop, cite, for news that is already on the wire basically it is not as vital to cite but is nice to do so.

I disagree, only because of Twitter’s format: it’s not possible to link in any lasting way to a series of posts on Twitter since there’s no archiving via date or subject like there is with a blog, nor does linking to one post on Twitter allow you to BEGIN there and go back through a person’s posts from that point on. The only way to link in a lasting way to Twitter posts is individual links for each post or, as was done, quoting all of them with a general link to that Twitter account. I’m not sure the use of individual links for each post is viable, particlarly in cases of a dozen or more posts. Under normal circumstances, I’d agree, but with the way that Twitter is set up…

Sure, there’s a slight difference in format, but there’s that same difference in blog posts and forum posts, and the same stuff applies to forum posts – quote snippets, fine. Quote a whole long post without permission – uncool.

I see what you’re saying, but in those cases, you can link back to what you’re quoting with ease, which isn’t the case here. To reference back and give people an opportunity to see the whole series of posts, you need a link for each post. Which may not be unreasonable to demand, but treating Twitter like other sources doesn’t quite work because of the format change. Twitter is designed to be much more ephemeral. It just doesn’t seem practical to treat Twitter posts in the same manner as blogs and forum posts.

So long as you have a permanent archive, it’s not ephemeral. When you link to forum posts, it’s the same thing, you link to the thread and you have to scroll through the whole thing (unless you link individually to each forum post, which is the same difficulty of linking to each individual twitter post).

Bah this argument is silly. Get permission or don’t do it. Game over.

Another problem he had with the post was that they just copy and pasted the Twitter feed. They didnt even both to post the tweets in order and told people to read from bottom up.

Also, they got permission after the fact, despite claims to the contrary.

I think Twitter is more like IRC than a mini blog. . You should not be posting twitter logs without a link to the original work.

Bah this argument is silly. Get permission or don’t do it. Game over.

There’s practically (if not absolutely) NO one out there who says “you must get permission to use one of my tweeter posts.”

Permission only comes in when you begin to use a lot of them or build content based on reposting their tweeter posts (you know, like, “Your Joe Quesada Tweeter Post For The Day!” etc.).

You should not be posting twitter logs without a link to the original work.

I don’t think you should be posting twitter logs (in this instance, twitter logs would mean “a large chunk of twitter posts”) without permission at all.

Another problem he had with the post was that they just copy and pasted the Twitter feed. They didnt even both to post the tweets in order and told people to read from bottom up.

Yeah, I don’t get that as being much of an issue. Maybe a bit of “you’re lazy for doing it like that,” but that seems to distract from the main point of “you shouldn’t appropriate someone else’s content in place of your content without permission to do so.”

Also, they got permission after the fact, despite claims to the contrary.

Yeah, I saw some back-and-forths about that, I didn’t particularly feel like getting into that debate (we surely don’t need yet some other tangent to argue about to distract from the main discussion). What we know for sure is that permission was given, and I was just wishing to concentrate on the fact that permission makes things allowable, which Brevoort certainly had stated, as well.

But… but… What about ReTweeting? The very first post in that CB Cebulski string is him ReTweeting tweets from me and someone else. It seems to be accepted practice on Twitter that if someone says something you like, you RT it so your followers can see it as well. That doesn’t seem much different from posting it on a blog. CB didn’t ask me if he could RT my tweet, and I didn’t expect him to. On the contrary, I was pleased.

Yeah, maybe you should ask before posting a whole string of tweets, but the people who are arguing about this don’t really seem to get Twitter. I realize I own the rights to my tweets, but frankly, they’re so short that I don’t really care what anyone does with them.

To clarify, I don’t think reposting a series of Twitter posts is proper, but I also think that because of Twitter’s format, it needs to handled different than other sources. Not sure how to do that, but, really, I just wanted to point out that Twitter’s archiving system works again simply linking back to a person’s Twitter page — after a couple of weeks, the posts in question could be buried several pages back, a condition that gets worse over time. Try finding something someone said three months ago — particularly if that person posts a lot on Twitter.

… as long as they spell my name right, of course.

Right, Brigid, I am not saying you shouldn’t repost a Twitter post. In fact, I am specifically saying that that is FINE. What I am saying is that you should, as you note, “ask before posting a whole string of tweets.”

Yeah, Chad, I get that our disagreement was not over the main point (“don’t post a series of Twitter posts”).

Hey all . . . Troy Brownfield from Blog@Newsarama here . . .

Brian, I would like to point out that Kirk Warren is wrong. David had the blessing from CB to post his tweets on April 16th, five days before the post was made . I am not sure why Kirk would assert otherwise, but I have what evidence I need to prove this point.

Apart from having permission, David broke the tweets into two sections (one for writers, one for artists) and put them in block quotes. It’s not as if he just cut and pasted a raw feed, as suggested.

Brian, I appreciate you inviting discussion on this issue, and I appreciate your stance.

Thanks,
Troy

“Brian, I would like to point out that Kirk Warren is wrong. David had the blessing from CB to post his tweets on April 16th, five days before the post was made . I am not sure why Kirk would assert otherwise, but I have what evidence I need to prove this point.”

On Twitter, Tom Brevoort said permission was obtained after the fact … that’s where that’s coming from.

What I don’t get is the rant from Lucas. If Blog@ had permission, and Brevoort obviously didn’t know it and called them out, why not just tell Tom in an email or on Twitter or whatever that Cebulski okayed it? Why add to the drama by going off on The Entire State of Comic Book Journalism As It Relates to the Big Two, Particularly Marvel, rather than addressing Tom’s concern? ‘m not sure what one has to do with the other, unless Tom was sending emails to Matt Brady saying he’d never have the opportunity to cover Marvel again if he didn’t remove that post.

I took Siegel’s rant to be about the fact that Marvel wants to milk Twitter for what is basically free advertising without realizing that they can’t control the flow of information after it’s posted. Does anyone believe that any site, from CBR to Newsarama to IGN, gets complete access without having to play ball somehow?

[...] this that started the whole thing and you probably have an opinion on it. Lots and lots of people have an opinion. The fact is that if you post something publicly on the internet, you have exposed it for use by [...]

[…] this that started the whole thing and you probably have an opinion on it. Lots and lots of people have an opinion. The fact is that if you post something publicly on the internet, you have exposed it for use by […]

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