Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Twitter is a micro blogging platform that allows users to post information online, in addition to leave comments on different "twitter feeds." The service has been around since 2006, but has recently been thrust into more prominence with the situation occurring in Mumbai

Bystanders and witnesses were able to provide first hand information from the scene of the terrorist situation, thus giving readers information before it gets to the press, in many instances. For example, eyewitness accounts, pleads for help, and rumors in the hours and days following the event. 

This is what seems to be the hope for Twitter- a platform that provides readers with quick breaking news. 

In this assignment, I went around the web to find three Tweeter accounts to scrutinize and analyze. And heeeeeeeeeere they are:

I like this because it's a quick way to get the headlines of the day, though nothing more. They also provide links to some of their radio interviews and features, so that's a nice addition. If you're looking for something in depth, this isn't your place, but if you're on the go, the Fox News Radio Twitter may be of interest to you. 

Anyone from Houston knows that up to date information is crucial during hurricane season, and this service from the Houston Chronicle provides just that. The twitter feed was frequently used during Hurricane Ike as a way to inform those involved with the storm. In addition to this, the site links back to stories the newspaper ran and it calls for interactive users to tell their hurricane tales.

Shanbhag is a Harvard Professor who was at the scene in Mumbai and provided updates to his Twitter account as events progressed. I decided to take a look at his so I could see how Twitter works in a time of crisis. Shanbhag did a good job of reporting things such as finding bullet fragments. This was a very good example of how Twitter accounts can help bridge the gap to the actual news reports. 

After looking at Twitter, I think it is a helpful service, though not a perfect service that will forever change the world of journalism. It, as mentioned earlier, can be a great way to bridge the gap from the citizen journalists to the professional journalists, as many Twitter posters are on the scene long before the pros. 

That being said, I think it is too easy for people to make things up on Twitter, and that's why I don't think its the greatest of systems. I would trust credible news organizations on Twitter long before I'd trust a normal person, though Shanbhag would have had a lot of credibility with me since he was posting up to the minute photos of events.

Twitter's neat and it provides a service that isn't perfect. Treat it nothing more than that, and I think you'll get some use out of it.

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