Twitter as news delivery system

by Mathew on January 30, 2008 · 15 comments

Patrick Ruffini at Tech President has a great post about Twitter starting to become a news-delivery system, a post I came across because it was linked to by Josh Catone over at Read/Write Web, who says Twitter is becoming a “platform for serious discourse.” Not all of what we see on Twitter is serious discourse, mind you — there are still people who insist on telling me everything they’re doing (yes, I’m talking about you, Scoble) and there are performance issues, but Patrick and Josh both have a point.

Like Patrick, and probably lots of other people, I started noticing Twitter becoming a news-delivery system when a news event came along — like the fires in California, or the death of Heath Ledger — and probably noticed it the most during the U.S. primaries. The volume of Twitter posts during the debates and the voting was incredible, and it was like a front-row seat to the action, or a really smart water-cooler discussion. Some people were watching CNN, some watching other shows, some were at actual events; it was a sea of information and opinion.

Josh has a great rundown of why Twitter works for news, including the fact that it’s fast, it’s open, and it’s two-way — and Patrick makes many of the same points. Like Mitch Joel, I have found out about news events through Twitter, including several takeovers, financial results and other stories. And journalists are taking note, including Steve Outing and Jack Lail, as well as Bruno Giussani. Newspapers are feeding their news alerts straight to Twitter, and reporters are starting to do likewise. It’s fascinating to watch a new medium evolve the way Twitter has.

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