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Twitter for News?

So, I’ve just gotten into twitter – @robheydari – and while I signed up mostly as a lark, I have to say it’s become addicitve. It’s quite fun, both to post and to see the other streams of consciousness coming from other tweets.

Notably, I’ve been watching this one website called “TwitScoop” to see what others are talking about on Twitter. It’s become like an informal wire service and is just fascinating. As different events unfold, you can see them mentioned in Twitter as it happens. There aren’t any filters though, so when someone is voted off of American Idol, it can seem to have as much weight as Barack Obama’s visit to Canada, or the possible nationalization of the Bank of America. Whatever people happen to be talking about on Twitter at any given moment is reported by TwitScoop.

It’s had me rethinking what I consider news. Is news something that a gatekeeper – the traditional outlets of journalism – gives to me? Do I let someone else decide what is important for me to know? Or is news just whatever people happen to be talking about? Twitscoop seemed to focus heavily on celebrities because, presumably, people were talking about them more.

But at the same time, anything something was being talked about on the mainstream news networks, TwitScoop picked up on it. When CNN had a surgeon who used Twitter in the operating room speaking on TV, it was reflected on TwitScoop in almost real time as people reacted to it.

That in itself got me thinking. Even with these new ways to communicate and spread news (Twitter, for example) – we still seem to rely heavily on the traditional mainstream outlets. We just might not be paying attention to them in the same way, so it seems like we are turning away as ratings tumble… but it could just be that the ways we are looking at them aren’t measured correctly yet. A lot of the news I saw on TwitScoop wouldn’t have caught attention were it not for CBC, CNN, BBC, et al attracting attention to the stories in the first place.

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