Twitter, the new news bureau roll-up?

 

Last post, I talked about the Social Media Heyday and how the two way communication from consumers is impacting everything from brands to politics.

In the last week, I have been impressed by how social media is becoming a proxy for the news, specifically via Twitter. When Twitter first came out, I thought it was undistinguishable noise. Then I was on the road, in a hotel room with CNN on and saw that they were scrolling "Tweets" across the bottom of the screen rather than take calls for questions. Hmmmm, you can filter Twitter? I later discovered search.twitter.com. If you have not searched this for comments on your company, you are missing out.

So I signed up for Twitter. Immediately, people began following me and I decided to follow my rules about social media, which was to be careful where I played. I did start to follow those I knew or those in my industry. For those I thought were connected, I could also see what they were following. I spent a little more time on it than average this weekend (I am mediadls on Twitter) on Twitter and find my self signing up for some sources like CNN, NY Times, various Google News feeds, etc. These plus the more vertical feeds are helpful but I find that the most effective Tweets are those who are ahead of the news bureaus on a story. 

This produces an effect some are calling social journalism. The two way communication of the social journalists of Twitter is powerful. Take the Denver plane crash over the last weekend. A passenger called 2drinksbehind Twittered a now famous Tweet just after getting off the plane. He then proceeded to keep up the dialogue and gathered more and more followers. Who did the news agencies go to for interviews? This guy. He now has over 2,000 followers on Twitter. 

On another front, Anderson Cooper of CNN has his on Twitter account. He commonly starts Twittering early in the day as he gets ready for his show and continues sometimes during the breaks of the show. In addition, he fires up his Beat360 blog  just as he is starting each show. I now understand why this person is so appealing. He is really plugged into the viewer. And he permits the viewer to be plugged into him and get "the rest of the story." 

One last point. As a function of the several hours I spent on Twitter over the weekend, I found that when I went to read my morning paper Monday, the only headlines that were news to me were features and sports. The powerful combination of news as it happens and the thousands of people "reporting" the news is yet another nail in the coffin of the newspaper medium. 

 

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