The Tweet Next Door: The Year In Local Alternative Tech

Categories: Tech
A lot changed in the way we curate and consume news this year, primarily due to the explosion of Twitter and it's ripple effect across all media. As alt-media ourselves, we had to deal with the formidable competition of the real time web and its ability to instantly inform and entertain. We now live in a world where Twitter executives can conclude that Puff Daddy isn't "strategic enough" to take seriously and rockstars like former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic  are able throw in their two cents about file-sharing and garner a prize headline slot on San Francisco technology blog Techmeme.

As Novoselic wrote in the Seattle Weekly, when he compared the creative and media industries to technology in order to drum up a call for a better way to monetize content, "Most musicians, artists, and filmmakers don't have the backing of Google (YouTube) and venture capitalists (Twitter)." In other words, the media landscape has shifted and taken our tradition of pop-culture coverage right along with it.

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Pic via

As Village Voice Media grappled with the transition from being a weekly paper to being refreshed daily on the blogs, we took this cultural shift into account and began reporting on how the digital age was changing behavior locally. From tweet-ups to breaking news to rockstars opining, we did our best, and have compiled the best of the best for your perusal.

10. What a Twit! Tony La Russa Embraces Social Media He Once Sued, Joins Twitter
If you can't beat them, join them: The St.Louis Cardinals skipper provided much blog fodder when he sued Twitter back in May, and then in a somewhat suspect move, joined the service after the legal claim was dropped.  Read more.
9. There Goes the Neighborhood: How Foursquare is Subtly Threatening Your Anonymity
With the ability to see who else is checked into a venue, people you haven't chosen to be friends with now have access to your location. Which, not to exaggerate, can be seen as potentially threatening at worst and mildly creepy at best, especially in the web celebrity-ridden San Francisco tech community. Read more.

8. Seven Social Media Snafus to Avoid for Sensible Online Citizenship
Houston educates its locals on how to be part of a global community: If you really want to be a citizen of an online, global community, you'd better act communal, dammit. And it would behoove you to keep a few key social graces in mind. Read more.

7. Twitter Creator Jack Dorsey Launching New Start-Up with St. Louisan Jim McKelvey 
Twitter creator Jack Dorsey is from St. Louis and chose the Midwestern city as a hub for his new promising start-up, Square: "I came back to St. Louis to find the next thing, and I found it." Read more.

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From "9-11 in the Age of Social Media."
6. Is Diddy the Bitch in the Twitter Sex Tape or Just All of Hollywood?
The line between media and new media inevitably blurs when Silicon Valley startups receive the same invasive scrutiny as Hollywood stars; the Twitter document leak revealed a lot about the company's Hollywood strategy, namely that they have one. Read more.

5. The Great Google Wave Spaz-Out of '09 
Like the rest of the country, people in St. Louis went nuts for invites to a service that eventually became a ghost-town: Twitter went crazy with otherwise self-respecting geeks begging anyone who claimed to get extra invites to please pass one along to them. Read more

4. Chris Strouth, Scott Pakudaitis Share a Twitter Kidney
Strouth put out a call via Twitter for an organ donor in February and Scott Pakudaitis offered to help. Imagine this happening a year ago. Read more.

3. Twitter is Launching Its Own Fledgling Wine Label
Forget drinking the company Kool-Aid. Twitter employees will soon be drinking the company wine. Read more.

2. What Would 9-11 Be Like in the Age of Social Media?
This realtime 24-7 Internet did not exist in 2001. We had the earliest versions of social media, instant messaging and blogs. But we had nowhere near the household use of many-to-many communication channels like Twitter and text messages. For the most part we spent 9-11 watching CNN. The Web in '09 is more about doing rather than watching. Twitter asks, "What are you doing RIGHT NOW?" Read more.

1. The Internet at 40: Its Top Ten Achievements
The Internet is now middle-aged. Let's hope it doesn't buy an overpriced car and start dating younger women. Read more.

Here's to another year (or forty) of being a unique local voice, online and off ...

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