Editorial: Tweets can echo
February 8, 2016
Filed under Opinion
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A few students in our Pascack Valley school community have persisted in their criticism about The Smoke Signal embedding their Tweets into our article about the recent virtual days. We’ve decided to revisit these concerns and solidify our position on this issue moving forward.
As outlined in our previous editorial, there are no legal restrictions against embedding Tweets in our school newspaper, or in any other publication. Articles from other news sites, such as this one from The Star-Ledger, contain embedded Tweets; online publications routinely embed Tweets in their articles without asking permission from accounts’ users. Tweets, along with most other forms of social media, are public domain and can be accessed or reused by anyone. According to Twitter’s terms and conditions, this practice is accepted and even encouraged.
However, we have reached the decision to extend a one-time only courtesy and have taken down our article entitled “Virtual Day: Students voice opinions via Twitter,” which featured embedded student Tweets, from our website.
Understand that, as mentioned, this is a one-time only courtesy. The Smoke Signal is under no obligation to do this.
Users need to understand that Twitter is an open space that can be accessed by anyone, and needs to be thought of as shouting at people in a public place. If you yell in a canyon, you can’t expect there not to be an echo, and anyone who hears it is allowed to mention it or reuse it in any way. It doesn’t matter who you intended it for, whether you only expected five friends or the general public to hear it. Twitter is public, whether your account is set on private or not. Tweets from accounts using private settings can still potentially be accessed by anyone; once it’s out there, you never know for sure who’s going to see what.
The Smoke Signal has acted as the “echo in the canyon” several times in the past, in order to display the different reactions to school happenings. The articles “Superintendent sets record straight on school nickname debate” and “PV community takes to Twitter using #PeaceinPV” are two prominent examples. These stories emphasized student voice and the importance of acknowledging different opinions, which is exactly what The Smoke Signal strives to do.
We are hoping that Smoke Signal readers see this decision to take down our article for exactly what it is: a one-time courtesy. Moving forward, understand that the canyon echoes. Stand by your Tweets.