Is Twitter Journalism?
By Andrea Haimindra
Every generation has a new, yet unique way of communicating news. Our generation has transformed into a social media frenzy. Social media has been a huge success and has skyrocketed nowadays because of websites such as Twitter and Facebook. These websites have been very effective because one can pick, choose, and filter any information they want with this widespread news cycle in order to engage any type of audience. These websites are becoming the main sources of news because they are in essence blogs where people can create, talk, and sum up news in a short and sweet way. Craig Kanalley couldn’t have said it better, “If it’s not in 140 characters or less, you may lose them.” “This generation doesn’t read. It scans. Write simply and use bullets or lists whenever possible, he says.”
Today, society is living in this advantageous technological era where news wants to be heard, and is heard as brief as possible. Whether it’s news on war, natural disasters, the economy, or if Kim Kardashian is getting married again, people want only compelling information as quick as possible. With the use of Twitter, journalism is only expanding and getting better in many more different ways. Citizen journalism is the main factor on Twitter, but it is becoming so popular that people don’t really bother with television news and newspapers anymore. Although Twitter may not provide every detail, it provides enough to get the news flowing in seconds. Twitter reached 12,233 tweets per second at the end of the Giants vs. Patriots Superbowl game this year, and 10,245 tweets per second during Madonna’s halftime performance during that game, making it the second and third most recorded tweets per second in Twitter history. Twitter has even become so newsworthy that Whitney Houston's death was reported on Twitter by one of her nieces’ hairstylist before the Associated Press released the news, and Osama Bin Laden’s raid and death was being tweeted live by a citizen in Pakistan ten hours before it was released to the public. I’m not saying that Twitter is the best type of journalism, but it gets the job done for our generation. Richard Klicki of The Daily Herald in Chicago vividly describes it when he calls our era the “Short Attention Span News Generation.”
Not only is Twitter a great source of journalism today, it is even helping journalists do their jobs. According to a recent survey out of Norway, journalists turn to Twitter for research 30 percent of the time, private use 29 percent of the time, getting story ideas 23 percent of the time, and promotion and branding 17 percent of the time. Additionally it is used for building networks with other journalists 15 percent of the time, getting into contact with sources and doing interviews 13 percent of the time, and getting feedback from readers 12 percent of the time. Ultimately, Twitter can cover many types of events, whether live or not, and can also be used to publish headlines and breaking news for global audiences. As of now, it is a very effective tool used to inform our society in many positive ways, and I believe it will only get better in the future.