Twitter’s quicker debate over

The BBCs Rory Cellan-Jones wonders whether Twitter has come of age with the earthquake that struck Sichuan province in China this morning,

Let’s see, as this story unfolds, whether this is the moment when Twitter comes of age as a platform which can bring faster coverage of a major news event than traditional media, while allowing participants and onlookers to share their experiences. link

I didn’t know anything about the earthquake until I picked up on a (private) tweet from Rebecca Mackinnon in Hong Kong. A quick blast through Twitter using Tweetscan and it soon became clear the Tweetsphere was abuzz with chatter and information sharing about the earthquake. It also became clear news was coming out quicker on Twitter than by more established means. Some pictures appeared on Flickr within an hour of the quake. Meanwhile Robin Hamman points me to a tool that automatically translates what Chinese Twitterers are saying about the earthquake.

There’ll no doubt be plenty more pondering about the value of the microblogging tool Twitter. But, what with breaking the news of the Chinese earthquake before the mainstream media and with the likes of Andrew Heavens providing updates as they happen from the streets of Khartoum, maybe the time for debate is over. If it’s speed you want, Twitter delivers – which is one of the many reasons I put together the social media news tracking course for the Frontline Club in the first place.

6 comments

  1. So why do all the people I subscribe to say things like “quiche is browning nicely”?

  2. Goodness the world is a much smaller place than it used to be when I was young, with all the catostophic news there is this month I can’t imagine being worried over my quiche is browning, in fact what worries me most is whether or not there is enough aide and sufficient aide agencies to supply the need between Myanmar and China, then add the destructive winds here in the USA and of course the volcanos, along with the wars….sort of reads like a new addition of Armeggedon don’t you think?

  3. The China’s eathquake news was send to me by a friend’s SMS. I thought that was a joke in the first time. About 2 to 3 hours later, radio [Toronto’s Chinese Radio] start talking about it.
    Twitter should take the credit.
    I will say that we are living in an age of “Everybody is a news Reporter and Receiver”. It is good for freedon of news circulation. So that, no body have a full control of news. No body can make up a news like CNN or even government of China and United States.

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