Twitter has become a news outlet

20 Mar

Though originally labeled a social networking site, many people are starting to view Twitter as more of a news outlet than a social network. By putting news on your Twitter feed, it can reach thousands of people instantly instead of waiting for newspapers to get out. It also puts publishing rights in the hands of anyone. The former “audience” is now part of the media. Thanks to Twitter, journalism has now become interactive. More voices also means news has become more chaotic. But at the same time, more people participating in reporting the news leads to better journalism.

Twitter has also proven to be useful in several life or death situations. Many journalists in trouble have tweeted their locations or other details about what kind of trouble they are in. In some cases, these tweets might have contributed to getting them out of trouble safely. In The Revolutions were Tweeted: Information Flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions,  from the International Journal of Communication, the author discuses the effects twitter had on the Arab Spring uprisings.

On the other hand, following Twitter too closely as fact can be dangerous. We must remember that Twitter allows everyone to publish whatever they please, regardless of its factuality. This point was proven in a Michigan instance. During a shooting, people were following updates on Twitter. These tweets, attributed to police scanners, later proved to be false. With Twitter, misinformation spreads much more quickly and more people hear and believe it before the word that is it false information can get out.

All of this considered, journalists should learn the ins and outs of Twitter. It can be a tool to both deliver and receive the news. Twitter can be used to organize the flow of information, namely with the list function it offers. Not only can journalists keep the flow of news organized,  they can also use retweets they find interesting to find more people to follow.

More and more journalists are embracing Twitter and sharing their secrets with other journalists. The belief that we should be embracing Twitter is spreading. There are many ways journalists have started using Twitter to their advantage. They are definitely worth looking at and taking into consideration.

Hashtag for Twitter story telling: #artsandcraftscenterconversations

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