Stephanopoulos on Twitter Friends: “It Beats High School”

By Chris Ariens Comment

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist


That’s what ABC has labeled George Stephanopoulos’ first interview on Twitter, conducted Tuesday with Sen. John McCain, a new convert.

Listen, we’re all for cutting-edge, 21st-century vernacular, but Twitterview Sounds like something a Care Bear would do with a canary.

“There’s a danger in getting too cute,” Stephanopoulos (@gstephanopoulos) acknowledges, “but I was actually persuaded in this case. We were kicking it around the staff.”

As for the Haiku-like restrictions of the newest entry in instantaneous conversation, Stephanopoulos is a fan.

“I like the directness. I like the discipline of 140 characters. What they have to work on is speed, and streamlining the presentation. If a question shows up, it’s a problem. It makes it a little difficult to find.”

For the spunky “This Week” moderator, that directness and precision is also a downside “because you can’t fully answer a question in 140 characters.” (You just did, G.)

“Meet the Press'” David Gregory (@DavidGregory / 210,823 followers) is ga-ga over Twitter, sometimes sharing such deep thoughts as whether he should grab a bagel before the show. On the receiving end, he sometimes gets good questions.

“Face the Nation’s” Bob Schieffer is decidedly old school, but he got on the Tweet-wagon in January. (He’s only sent 26 Tweets and has 1,418 followers @BobSchieffer). He also has a weekly web-only program with an MTV title: “Washington Unplugged.”

Stephanopoulos compares Twitter to a town hall, a new way to engage viewers, newsmakers and policymakers — all in real time.

McCain, (@SenJohnMcCain / 240,699 followers) an active T-man was an easy sell. “I thought he’d be game and he was. He said he’d do it again.”

Stephanopoulos is no slouch in that department, either. According to his last count, he has 190,348 followers.

As a way to be popular, “it beats high school,” he says.