Twitter Strikes Again

Another day, another news story broken by Twitter. It seems that little bird we have all come to know and love has once again forced me to eat my words. My “Twitter is just a souped-up version of a Facebook status bar” words to be exact.

The first pictures of the Hudson River plane crash was taken by Janis Krums. Not a journalist, just someone who happened to be on a ferry. Mr Krums took the picture on his mobile phone and immediately posted it on Twitpic.

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Within minutes, the photo had travelled to Japan, Iran, China, Norway, England, and hundreds of other locations across the world. News networks were still trying to organise a helicopter to go and get that all important iconic picture. Oops, looks like you were cut to the chase. Better luck next time.

The Hudson River plane crash is a monumental story in its own right but it has almost been overshadowed by the story of Twitter. Anyone who didn’t know about it or former cynics are now jumping on the Twitter bandwagon.

Yesterday Rory Cellan Jones tweeted:

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It seems Twitter is spreading like wild fire. It is rapidly changing from a messaging tool/status bar to a widely used and trusted multimedia service where more and more people are breaking news.

Twitter, and indeed, citizen journalism stikes again. Reporters in New York tried to get to the scene of the crash as quickly as they could, the only problem being that the plane was already beginning to float downstream. Other news outlets were still trying to get their choppers in the air to get a picture. By this stage Janis Krums probably had a few hundred more followers.

The media revolution has once again enabled us to add another iconic image to an already vast collection, most of which were taken by mere bystanders who happened to be in the right place at the right time. It’s little wonder then that journalists everywhere are constantly looking over their shoulder, worried about losing their jobs or having their power usurped. The economic downturn was bad enough, now we’ve got the boy next door to contend with.

Facebook is so last season darling, Twitter is the new black. Next time I meet Alan Rusbridger or any other important editor type peeps, I’ll expect them to ask me if I Tweet, and that’ll be another drink I owe Glyn, who introduced me to that little bird we have all come to know and love.

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