I received word today that one of my favourite local television personalities, Global Edmonton’s Lynda Steele — host of the Early news co-anchor of the News Hour — has abandoned her popular Twitter account. No reason was immediately given by Steele or Global. And as someone with a vested interest in social media, as someone who fully recognizes the value of these tools, I can’t help but feel that Global Edmonton has more or less entirely missed the mark.
I followed Lynda Steele almost the moment she arrived on Twitter. I was thrilled that I could directly interact with a personality — nay, a person — whom I’d watched on TV my whole life. And guess what? It turns out she’s just a normal woman who loves her job, loves Edmonton and was looking for a new way to interact with and gather news in the market she serves.
On a personal note, I got to know Lynda a bit better and even worked with her on a few charitable campaigns through OilersNation.com. She’s always been great fun to work with, and had a raft of neat idea on how to get the message out there. Twitter was one of those ways.
When this story broke, a few hours ago by the time this gets posted, we were told that Global would be consolidating Twitter accounts under the Global banner. We’ve now been told, via a tweet from Global Edmonton, the following: “GM Tim Spelliscy corrects bad scoop. GE is NOT consolidating accounts, not now or ever. Our personalities will continue to Twitter.”
So all other Global personalities stay, but Lynda can’t or won’t? From where I was sitting, she was using the medium rather effectively. And, at least nationally, Twitter seems to be a technology that Global really wants to use.
I won’t go so far as to say this move will alienate a batch of potential viewers. I’ll still tune in when I can to see Gord and Lynda give us the news. But I certainly don’t perceive Global in a favourable light nor will I follow the Global Edmonton account, whatever their reasons were for this move. It’s backwards. It’s limiting. It’s old media.
I contacted Lynda to ask her what was going on, and like a consummate professional, she said “No comment.” I then asked her if this was an elaborate April Fools Day joke. She reassured me that if it is, no one’s let her know.
Guess we just have to send our news tips to Global the old fashioned way: via carrier pigeon.
For those of you who miss Lynda Steele on Twitter, you can follow her fake alter ego, @fakeLyndaSteele. And no, I’m not managing that account.