Twitter, Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Perhaps not, however Twitter is a lot of things these days and can now boast it is faster than the news itself, in this instance faster than an Earthquake.
Twitter is already used by millions of people world-wide and was recently a very helpful news source of millions of New Yorkers, when as Mashable notes, many Twitter 140 character warning messages reached New York City before the earthquake had the time to travel from Washington, something Twitter has turned into a marketing tool and is illustrated humorously in the below Twitter add campaign video via YouTub
Notice the Twitter pillows? Besides being a remarkable fact in itself, that Twitter moves faster than seismic waves, it is a clear example of the path people are now taking to not only socialise through Facebook, but also a new trend in the media they are choosing to get their news from, the main player? Twitter. This trend was also recently highlighted with the biggest story of 2011 being Osama Bin Laden’s death, which was first reported on? You guess it Twitter.
There many advantages Twitter has on traditional media, firstly the size is of great importance, as whilst New Yorkers were unable to get a dial tone, they could certainly use Twitter, to get information of the earthquake. Another resource Twitter has is instantaneity as is the case with social networks, that is users are able to get their news live from thousands of different sources and views whether it be an earthquake or your AFL teams live scores. Finally and most unique to Twitter is that of the #hashtagging, if you are not familiar with Twitters hashtag system I suggest you read this, however I will attempt to explain how a #hashtag benefits consumers of Twitter, not only socially but also to gain news (it also assists companies in marketing, but more on that in a later post). The idea of a #hashtag on Twitter is for users to #hashtag a keyword relevant to their tweet for example “Hurricane #Irene about to hit downtown New York City, everyone should stay inside!”, the keyword there being #Irene, this enables users to click on #Irene which will then direct them to all tweets containing this keyword in live time, thus an up to date live feed of the latest news on Hurricane #Irene, allowing users to tailor their required news even further. Below is a cool little video showing the power of the #hashtag.
When a big news story such as #Irene breaks it is often “trending” on Twitter, and therefore appears on the right hand side of the twitters feed, trends can be defined by world, country or even major city, giving the user the ability to see what’s happening in their city and thus being the fastest form of media on the planet, infact tweets can reach the other side of the world in under 1 second. Such is the case for Twitter being the new way of reading the news as opposed to ‘The Age’, many authorities such as the Victoria Police and Officials alerting residents about Hurricane Irene are now using twitter as their primary information medium.
Whether or not you agree that Twitter is faster than a speeding bullet (only a matter of time), it has proven to be faster than an earthquake, and I feel it is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Twitters full potential, particularly in Australia, and if you are reading this and you do not have a Twitter (I’m not quite sure how you got here), I assure you it’s only a matter of time, so you might as well have a look now, and don’t worry it’s not the new facebook, it’s better.
With all of that in mind…. Imagine the possibilities for a twitter savvy organisation… the audience is endless…and growing.
– DevlinReferences http://twitter.com/ http://www.youtube.com/ http://severn.patch.com/articles/a-cause-for-twitter-hurricane-irene http://fcw.com/articles/2011/08/24/earthquake-social-media.aspx http://mashable.com/2011/08/26/twitter-earthquake-video/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2011/may/02/twitter-osama-bin-laden-death-leaked http://betanews.com/2011/08/23/new-yorkers-saw-dc-quake-tweets-before-the-ground-shook/