Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mumbai, twitter and the news

Seems like just about everyone has clocked Twitter as the breaking news-source of the moment.

Techcrunch has some interesting stuff and there's a thoughtful piece by Matthew Ingram about the question of whether or not news organisations should report tweets as fact.

It's something that struck me when looking at The Guardian's (abandoned) live blog which contained the entry:

One of the Australian victims has been named on the microblogging site Twitter.
That's quite a significant statement, especially if you happened to be a relative of the (alleged) victim.

Matthew Ingram argues:
Obviously, no one wants a loved one to be worried by false reports. But at the same time, chaotic situations result in poor information flow — even to the “professional” journalists who are working at the scene. First-hand and second-hand reports on Twitter are no worse. Should anyone take them as gospel, or the final version of the events? No. Obviously, at some point someone has to check the facts, confirm reports, analyze the outcome, and so on. News reporting and journalism are much more of a process than they are a discrete thing. But as I have tried to argue before, Twitter reports are a valuable “first draft of history,” and that is a pretty good definition of the news.
That's true, but I think that what those of us working in new media forget is that millions of people have either no idea or only a vague idea of what twitter is.

If you know what twitter is then you can calculate your response to take account of the cavils and risks; if you don't, and you trust the BBC (for example) as your source of news it's a different story.


darmik said...

Twitter can be used as a news service. However because this is done as a second thought it is not well organized as there is no systematic way to enter news so that it can be easily found and separated from the noise.
Because of this there is no easy and fast way to search for this information.

We have built have integrated a news posting service into our micro blog “Conversations” This ability to post news to the microblog is also integrated into our feed reader and both services post to twitter.
We you search on for a news story you will receive results that are from both main stream media as well as from related micro blogs.

Xavier said...

We've just released a new tool for better monitoring such events on Twitter.

If you go on you could see not only all tweets talking about the attack, but more importantly all related topics that have been discussed.

So you can filter down to the subtopics that really matter to you.

Your feedback is more than appreciated! :-)