Saturday, November 12, 2011

Twitter: News or Not?

I apologize for only sending a tweet last night during the police search activity in OldTown Laurel.  My smartphone lets me forward tweets to the email lists but the formatting gets corrupted.  This caused a lot of confusion for people on the email lists. 

Kudos to Joshua Garner at laurel.patch.com for getting some information out to the community last night 30 minutes after the helicopters were in the air. 

I've come to really like Twitter for breaking news stories.  I wish more people, reporters and even PIOs would use it instead of email, or waiting for a reporter to ask them questions.   Twitter using the hashtag #laurelmd for breaking local stories would help get information moving quickly. 

Remember it's lector caveo! It's breaking news and we all need to be a savvy internet news consumers.  I call it "online literacy".  This means you gotta know your tweeter.  I'll listen to any random guy in a bar spout off investment advice, but I go to a pro when I want to invest for she-who-must-be-obeyed's retirement survivor's benefits. 

Breaking news also means that a story will surely evolve.  If we want verified news of record, we will need to let the professional news organizations have the time to do their thing, i.e.,  report, edit, check and then publish.

Like I always tell my boss.  "Good, fast, cheap, pick any two. It's impossible to do all three."   If you want your news fast and cheap and maybe wrong but evolving, read Twitter.  If you are willing to wait for verified facts, then avoid Twitter and wait for a reputable news organization.

Unfortunately, as local news organizations struggle to survive, Twitter may soon be all we have when the sirens wail and the chopper's spotlight circles overhead.

I find Twitter fascinating.  It's almost like being there, but without the need to get in the way.

rick
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