Now mainstream breaks the big stories on Twitter–first

August 25, 2009

I’m getting ready for the webinar I’m doing Sept 1 for Government Educator on Twitter in Government Communications. I just keep pace with the rapid changes in how Twitter is being used for public information and news. Here’s the latest from mashable.com–now this is where at least some mainstream news organizations are breaking their big stories.

Why? Mashable’s Josh Catone posits three possible reasons: to avoid being scooped, to build their awareness and to create new audiences. I agree with all of these but number one is number one. When the competition for news is all around immediacy, you are either fast or you lose. Fast is now measured in seconds, now hours or minutes. I commented here earlier noting how Breaking News On was consistently beating New York Times with their news alerts via Twitter and email. Since then, and that was just a couple of weeks ago, I’ve noticed NYT beating Breaking News more often. I’m not suggesting because I pointed it out, but I suspect they discovered that the 15 to 30 minutes they were behind typically was enough for some news junkies to say why should I stay with them?

It’s all about immediacy–this is happening right now. I just wish I could do a better job of convincing those having to deal with this stuff in major crisis events that this is true and very real. A conversation today in planning a big drill highlights the fact the most continue to be stuck in an old world that just won’t work any more.

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