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Hot off the tweet: the new distribution of news

Posted by: | October 16, 2012 | No Comment |

photo credit: tanialfreitas.wordpress.com

By: Jessica Farley


Twitter. Love it or hate it, there is just no escaping it anymore. And while some use Twitter simply to see what Kim Kardashian ate for lunch, or what the latest #firstworldproblem may be, it is also undeniable that Twitter has become an increasingly useful and popular medium for breaking news stories.

While some “Gutenburg-minded” thinkers refuse to believe it, Twitter has become for many the first source in a breaking news story. In May of 2011 when Osama Bin Laden was announced captured and dead, Twitter was one of the first viewed and most visited sources of information for the news. In an article posted on Outsidethebeltway.com about the growing popularity of Twitter as a news source, it was said that “Unconfirmed reports — that turned out to be true — of Osama bin Laden’s demise circulated widely on social media for about 20 minutes before the anchors of the major broadcast and cable networks reported news of the raid at 10:45 p.m., about an hour before Mr. Obama’s address from the White House.” This is a drastic and revolutionary difference from just one decade prior, when the internet was barely trusted for email purposes.

And Bin Laden’s death is just one of many major news events that have first broken in the “twittersphere.” Others include Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze’s deaths, the 2009 Hudson River plane crash, and the 2008 discovery of ice on Mars, just to name a few.

So what does this all mean for the future of news? No one can know for sure just yet. But when we do, you can bet that it will be #trending on Twitter before anywhere else.

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