Twitter has journalists chirping

February 27, 2009

News organizations are all a-twitter about Twitter: Is it a friend or a foe? Should it be embraced or eschewed? Will Twitter kill journalism or revive it?

As journalists learn about Twitter and how they can use it, they also write more about it. In the past day alone, there have been a handful of stories about Twitter.

The Miami Herald wrote about CNN’s Washington bureau chief David Bohrman talking about the importance of newer technologies like Twitter and YouTube. Bohrman said CNN has been using YouTube and Twitter to attract the more elusive younger audience, and had great success with the presidential-primary debates.

The Financial Times, meanwhile, writes a novella-length piece on Twitter that asks whether the “trendy little short-message service really be the next YouTube or Facebook?”

And then, as search giant Google sent out its first official Tweet yesterday, bloggers and reporters began speculating madly about whether Google might buy the micro-blogging site. PC World wondered if Google will pull a YouTube on Twitter, while San Jose Mercury News’s Chris O’Brien discussed whether Twitter could actually become a threat to Google.

Meanwhile, guess who’s on Twitter now?

Keep an eye on:

  • Sony Corp CEO Howard Stringer takes direct control of its ailing electronics arm. (Reuters)
  • Could this be the year of Thomson Reuters? (Silicon Alley Insider)
  • Billionaire Richard Li is planning to set up a new online financial news venture in China. (Bloomberg)

(Photo: Lovebirds in a pet shop in Riyadh/Reuters)

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If journalists sense something more here than the latest geek or celeb-spotting fad, they’d be right. Twitter is the glue that sticks all the conversations and bits of information and media on the Internet together, ensuring they reach the people who might be interested in them, at the time they’re needed, on whatever device they’re using. I’ve been using the service since June 2007 and so a lot of newly Twittering business and journalistic associates have been asking me what all the fuss is about. I couldn’t fit the answer in a 140-character tweet. Indeed, it took me a whopping 3000 words to explain what the service is and why it’s important. My response, “Twitter without the twaddle” is at:'s irrelevent whether Twitter ends up the dominant ‘market player’ – the fact is a system (or set of interconnecting systems) that does what Twitter does, and builds on it, will now always exist – the public will demand it – and it’s going to change fundamentally the way we connect, communicate, collaborate, organise and work.