Breaking News Comes Fast On Twitter

May 2nd, 2011 at 12:16 pm

It seems that the biggest news of the day concerns about the death of Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist in the US, if not the world, for more than a decade. Although the news came fast and the word spread like wildfire afterwards, credit to where the news came first wasn’t from any of the traditional media outlets. It first came from Twitter.

Yes, any semblance of information about the raid on Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan came from a Pakistani Twitter who tweeted about hearing helicopters and an explosion early morning. Initially, it was just an accidental live blog of the actual raid that wasn’t known until sometime later when other related tweets came out.

In the US front meanwhile, tweets about the raid and the subsequent report of Bin Laden’s death was even faster than Pres. Obama’s speech. Tweets about the subject were already spreading and made it through the traditional media outlets about more than an hour before Pres. Obama officially reported that Bin Laden was killed in a raid on his hideout. With such reports like this, it seems that Twitter may have made a name for itself as the foremost source of breaking news.

The reason for such speed is that Twitter has become a means for most people all over the world today to send messages using concise wordings and send it online in just a short span of time. It is easy to get first hand reports on any recent happenings anywhere in the world from Twitter users who happen to be in the area. People can easily tweet what they currently see and spread it on Twitterverse in just a few keystrokes on a laptop or mobile phone. By the time traditional media sources send out reporters to the scene, tweets have already gone viral and probably made it known all over the world. TV and radio seems to only stands to confirm the news.

It is no wonder anymore why the latest news always come by way of Twitter. But then the problem again is that whatever news that might come out should first be taken with a grain of salt. Just as tweets of true live events can spread out early and fast on Twitter, so can scams and bogus reports. There may be difficulty in trying to know initially whether any current newsworthy tweet that comes out is true or not. It is just that they can spread easily that way. But not withstanding whether tweets and news are true or not, they surely can go viral very fast on Twitter. And since the report on Bin Laden’s death has already been confirmed, Twitter may take the credit (and the eventual accolades, whether significant or insignificant) as the online media outlet where news comes out first.


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