Twitter is a very recent social networking phenomenon, it was started in 2006 and has taken-off in popularity within the past year. Twitter is basically a website where people can do one thing, write a sentence with less than 140 characters to be broadcast on the Web. Sounds silly? Well it kind of is, who would ever imagine that people would be so interested in what others have to say in a sentence, but silly or no its here to stay.
I took a look at some Tweets (apparently what a Twitter post is called) to investigate whether Twitter broaches the realm of news and not just gossip, and this is what I found...
The first Twitter account I looked at was that of Fake Rahm Emanuel, the new chief-of-staff of the Obama administration, suprisingly he has a Twitter account. Emanuel post very satircally, and even posts about his opinions on the going-ons in Washington. It's quite entertaining to read and I would consider it news-worthy because this guys opinion will have a lot of influence on the course this country takes come January. Here's a funny post, on December 1st, Emanuel wrote "So what do you think of our defense team? They have a lot of work to do cleaning up the global foreign policy diarrhea bomb Bush detonated."
He's quite unbiased...that was e-sarcasm.
Being a huge NY Giants fan (cough...best team ever...cough) I wanted to check out a Twitter account that talked about my team. I found Roger Resnicoff's Twitter account, a self-proclaimed "Mad Scientist" who does a lot of posting on NY Giants news. Resnicoff comments on stories from the news in most of his posts, but he does not break any news himself.
Suprisingly Foxs News has a Twitter account as well, and this was the most newsy account I have seen yet. All of the Fox News tweets are headlines with a link to the story, it bacially looks and operates like a Fox News RSS news feed.
I think that Twitter can definitely be used as a News site but only if the posts are done carefully. Most of the posts have to do with people's lives and what they are doing day-to-day which is not news worthy to me, but there are special exceptions. The examples I gave were Twitter accounts that try to share the news, these Twitter users are reposting and commenting on stories that are already on the Web but not breaking any news specifically on Twitter. Still though, I think sharing the news is slightly news-worthy in the same way reading ones blog would be. I think Twitter has potential to break news, as seen during the Mumbai attacks this past week, but unfortunately I think most users just want to post about themselves and their own lives, mostly boring drab.