Date of lunch:
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Mathew Ingram is the communities editor at The Globe and Mail. Likely a lot of people reading this blog know who Mathew Ingram is because they found their way here from his Twitter, as Mathew is far more popular on Twitter than I am. Mathew has been at the Globe and Mail since the early-nineties, starting off as a business writer then moving into covering technology, blogged for the Globe and Mail and eventually moved into his current role where he engages and connects with Globe’s readers online and also covers the state of media in the online age.
We ate at Thai Princess, a great Thai (obviously) place at King and Spadina. I made a reservation and when we got there it was empty so I thought maybe I had been overly cautious – but about 10 minutes later, the place was packed. And for good reason, the food was delish! I had my go-to Thai meal, Green Curry Chicken and Mathew had the grilled combo lunch special. We both drank water. Total bill was $23 with tax.
The lunch lesson:
Mathew said the easiest way to get others to understand the importance of Twitter, and I believe social media in general, is replace the word Twitter (or Facebook or the next thing) with “talking to people”. I’m against Twitter – changed to – I’m against talking to people. Not everyone needs to embrace these new technologies but it’s important that before they take a stand, they truly understand what they’re against. These are tools for engaging and interacting with each other – they’re not replacing in person contact, it’s a different forum, but a valuable one. Can’t we all just get along J
We had some great conversations over the course of lunch. One of my favourite parts was talking about Hunter S. Thompson, Mathew began reading his stuff in high school and I read pretty much all of his work during university. Mathew said what he really liked about Thompson was how powerful a writer he was… and I agree. There is something about his stuff that you can’t explain. It got me thinking of Hunter’s career as a journalist and I thought it was really interesting that Mathew was so into his writing as he was working to become a journalist himself. It made me wonder what other historic journalists are looked to by the reporters that I read every day.
We talked a lot about community engagement on Globe and Mail’s site. As a long time commenter on the articles, I was interested to hear Mathew’s plans. He hopes to create a meritocracy (I newly love this word and what it stands for). He wants to develop some sort of system that rewards good commenters in order to encourage good comments by all and also make the conversation more valuable.
Mathew pointed to the Guardian in the UK and the New York Times as publications that are doing very interesting stuff online. He told me about the Guardian giving their best online commenters their own blog on the site. I know if I could get my own blog on a newspaper’s site, I would comment a lot and well AND not use my awesome pseudonym. The New York Times, which I am obviously a fan of if you look at my Top 5 Dream Lunch List, now includes external links on their homepage – directing people away from the site sounds almost unheard of but it is a very interesting experiment.
Working in the media space and as a news junkie, I found this lunch extremely interesting as the way we receive (and engage with) news is changing day by day and Mathew is on the front line and offered up some great insight.
Going back to Hunter S. Thompson for a minute, Mathew also mentioned Christie Blatchford as another journalist who is a powerful writer. I agree and enjoy her writing. Mathew mentioned that Christie isn’t really down with blogging and Twitter so Mathew’s goal for his new role at The Globe and Mail is to get Christie Blatchord on Twitter! A noble goal indeed – good luck, if anyone can do it, you can!