Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twitter truly opens up new doors

I've been getting more and more intrigued with Twitter lately and the role it may play in the future of news.

Twitter is a largely public tool. And applications like TweetDeck document the most popular words being said at any given time. For example, in the last few minutes, the most popular words have been "Berlin" and "thunder." I looked through the "tweets" with these words and learned a fire had broken out at the airport in Berlin and there was a major thunderstorm going on in Brisbane, Australia - I even saw photos of the storm!

Here's some of the tweets on the Australia storm too:

KatJohnston : #bnestorm now hailing in newmarket.. hope it doesn't hurt the car.
Posted at 02:42

JonoH : 420 Queen ST is getting smashed!!! people can not walk.. Wind too strong!! #bnestorm
Posted at 02:42

WauloK : #bnestorm at Corinda sitting at the open front door watching the storm. Wild!
Posted at 02:39

JonoH : Currently 785 Strikes a minute for the lightning in SE QLD! incredible! #bnestorm
Posted at 02:38

So, in essence, it can be used as a news service. It chronicles news as it happens. It also documents buzzwords, the most popular talk at any given time.

So what role does it play in the future of newsgathering and news in general? I've been thinking about it...there has to be one.

In one sense, it's niche at its best because you can target specific audience and communicate with specific people who have the same interests as you. Newspaper personalities like ColonelTribune and WeatherBird utilize Twitter really well, getting their stories out while also interacting with their readers.

Editors can also toss words around on Twitter, do some interacting, and see what's hot and what's not. What's popular and what's lost into cyberspace. They can also do this by monitoring all the most recent tweets. And base stories on that. Really.

I think Twitter will continue to grow and be a big part of the future of the Web, and it'll be interesting to see what else comes of it. Other than that, who knows what form it'll take in the next few years. To be continued...

Update: I found this wonderful slideshow on the basics of Twitter and how it can be used for PR, journalism, live reporting, and more.

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