When is Twitter at its hottest ? When and how is it most useful ?
This subject was keeping me awake last night after I had lunch with a journalist friend who is now advising local newspapers on their on-line strategy.
For the past few months I personally have been using Twitter in a global way, to direct me to interesting content from around the world, to increase my knowledge and help with my work.
But according to my friend, journalists are using Twitter to tap into very specific local information about what is happening now, on the street. For example, a newsroom recently got wind of the fact that there was a police raid taking place in a small town in the north of England. This was all they knew. Using Twitter, the journalist was able to search for people Tweeting the name of that town and then focus in until he found a man saying ‘there are police crawling all over my street’. He tweeted the guy and got the story ,what’s more he was several hours ahead of the opposition.
It’s as if Twitter were a giant wireless set broadcasting chatter and white noise until you twiddle the dial that takes you to the bit you want to hear. It’s really exciting, like amateur radio enthusiasts listening into police frequencies. These tried and tested methods are now being powered by new technology.
News breaking on Twitter is not news. The plane that landed in the Hudson is obviously the most famous example but I am fascinated to hear that Twitter is being used as part of journalism’s sleuthing process.
Twitter allows us at both the global and the local level to connect to people directly whether it’s to gather information from them or to share it with them. This is what makes Twitter such a valuable tool.