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Yes it was breaking news, but did it break any Twitter records?

Posted by: | September 5, 2011 | No Comment |

image via smashingmagazine.com

No longer are the days where one must wait for the morning paper to read breaking news. By the time you get to the paper the next day, the rest of the world has moved on. These days, news doesn’t spread any faster than it does on the social media website Twitter. Created by Jack Dorsey in 2006, Twitter currently has over 200 million users and has become as a breaking news source for many reasons. For one, tweets can contain only 140 characters meaning users have to get their thoughts out in the most condensed form possible. This forces  journalists or news networks/publications to get their points/links out in a short amount of space–no mumbo jumbo to read through to get to the heart of the story.

Nowadays, journalists, those who have already made and those that are trying to make it, aim to be the first to get something out on Twitter. While this has resulted many times in false news spreading quickly, it has created a whole new platform for news spreading.

Twitter records are now getting broken more frequently as more people join. Most recently, Beyonce Knowles broke the Twitter record for most tweets per second (TPS) with 8,868 when MTV tweeted that she was expecting her first child with her husband Jay-Z. Before that the record belonged to the women’s World Cup this past summer. Other major TPS include the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Royal Wedding. (All statistics via Techcrunch).

Yes, Twitter is full of inane thoughts (visit my Twitter account to find out what I’m having for lunch or when/where I’m stuck in traffic) but it is also extremely useful in the spreading of news and the spreading of news quickly.

For example, when Northern Virginia had the earthquake a fews ago, I hit the Twitter application on my phone and within maybe 3 total minutesI knew the magnitude of the earthquake (5.9), the epicenter (Mineral, V.A.), how far it was felt (from Cleveland to Toronto), that the nuclear reactors in Maryland and Virginia were unharmed and that yes it was still early, but there was minimal damage. After about 10 minutes I read that calls from cell phones were unable to connect not because damage due to the earthquake but because of high call numbers.

What also makes the news spread so quickly is the addition of the Twitter button on almost any website you visit. You can easily share a headline on your Twitter timeline by simply clicking on the button and it’s automatically posted on your timeline for all of your friends to see.

I think it’s safe to say that is this point, if you’re not on Twitter you are way behind the times.



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