22 January 2010


1.  For those of you interested in social media trends, consider a post by Gerald Baron at Crisisblogger on the future of Twitter. Baron links to two different points of view:  one that Twitter will die, the other that it won’t.  Both offer food for thought and Baron gives his own perspective.  He thinks Twitter itself may fade but the concept will continue in other forms and through other software.

As Baron puts it:

What Twitter brought was the integration of various forms of instant communication including micro-blogging, text messaging, seamless distribution via web, email, text, etc. It has proven to be a highly effective means of instant communication with groups of people with whom you wish to communicate, or to audiences who have an intense desire to know what you have to say or track your every move (ala Ashton Kutcher). But, as I predicted, that functionality of exceptionally easy and fast distribution of messages to “friends” or people who connect via a network is rapidly be adopted in a variety of ways.

2.   In the same spirit, consider this New York Times article from last August – linked here previously – that indicated twitter is actually popular among an older demographic than the under-25s most people might assume are heavily into sending messages of no more than 140 characters.

3.   One of the reasons you’ll find Twitter feeds on the Haiti crisis linked in the right-hand nav bar is that it does give the opportunity to get some near real-time information from Haiti via reporters on the ground. There are tons of ways of getting that information, but here is just one more for you to chose among. if you look at the ones chosen, you can also see the radically different styles of the individuals writing. That adds a flavour to the coverage that doesn’t necessarily come across another way.

4.  You of the characteristics you can also see in the feed that these individuals are also having conversations with folks who may or may not be readers/viewers. Some are offering feedback on the coverage. Others are asking questions about what is going on in Haiti. Some of this stuff wouldn’t get reported otherwise.

5.  In the larger sense what you are seeing in near-real time feeds is a whole new form of information gathering and dissemination. Conventional news media are letting their people on the ground do much more than bang out copy and file it.  They are offering a way for the audience to become more directly connected with the news event.  In another sense, the audience is becoming connected not just to the event but to the news organization and the reporter in a way that simply wasn’t possible previously.  There are a raft of implications and there could be a whole blog/conversation devoted just to the many permutations of what this may do to the face of reporting. For now let’s just take it in as the whole thing unfolds.