Previously, in the second part of this series on Twitter Reporting I reviewed how Twitter perceives itself as part of a multi-way conversation. On the other hand, the traditional mass media generally uses Twitter as a promotional tool for its news stories.
Today I’ll explore how Twitter can be an important source of information even for those who do not have a Twitter account.
This very specific use of receiving Twitter Reports has such potential that it might grow quite a bit during times where there is a loss of power and internet. What is that use?
Receiving Twitter updates on a cell phone that can receive text messages is joining the ranks of battery-powered radios (and bread and milk) as must-haves during bad weather. There is a way for anyone, even those without a Twitter account, to select certain tweets to be texted to their phone. For example, a cell phone user can ask to get updates from their local meteorologist. The feature can be turned on and off as needed.
(Ortenzi, T. (2012, 10 29). How to use Twitter when you lose Internet access. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/how-to-use-twitter-when-you-lose-internet-access/2012/10/29/e6214f12-21b9-11e2-8448-81b1ce7d6978_story.html)
There is more to Twitter Reporting than that though.
Twitter Reporting can also give quick, immediate bursts of information.
Ironically cutting-edge technology Twitter is using a style that first was fine-tuned by users of that old technology the telegraph.
Twitter has the ability to be one of the first, if not the first, source of information. For example, winning candidates can very quickly get the word out of their victory during elections.
Twitter also can be a gateway, a link to sources that give more information: photos, videos, and Internet sources such as blogs and websites.
On the flip side, the weaknesses of Twitter Reporting include the 140-character limit. It reduces the complexity of any concept that can be transmitted in any one tweet. Plus it can be hard to verify the source of Twitter information.
For example, do you remember when there were reports that the trading floor on Wall Street was flooded from the effects of Hurricane Sandy? That incorrect information was based on a Twitter source. Various news media picked up the report-which turned out to be a hoax. Even experienced journalists were tripped up. They did not double-check the information.
A point made by many is that Twitter is useful as one aspect of news reporting. However “If you only Twittered and only read Twitters that would probably be a bad thing” states Ana Marie Cox of time.com.
(Cohen, N. (2008, 1 21). Campaign Reporting in Under 140 Taps. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/technology/21link.html_r=1&ref=business&oref=slogin)
(to be continued……
Next: I Experiment with Twitter Reporting.)