Amid the heroic scenes from New York, when UA 1549 managed to complete the first ever water landing with no fatalities, technologists and social media consultants everywhere were praising the microblogging service, Twitter, for being the first media outlet to break the news.
The imitable Drew B even has a full post about it – it must be groundbreaking stuff! How Twitter broke and covered the Hudson plane crash tonight, from eyewitnesses.
My response is a resounding “meh”.
But are smart people like Drew getting so excited about the fact that a medium built for immediate communication is, well, so immediate? We’ve seen this before. In 2006, Steve Rubel breathlessly reported “Gmail Down, Bloggers Know Before Press” – a classic example of a niche piece of news for a niche audience delivered by a (then) niche medium.
So while I appluad all those with Twitter accounts who shared news of this remarkable piece of airmanship (is that a word?), and who shared some quite remarkable pictures (and, in Collin Douma’s case, some hilarious wisecracks), I urge you to look past the hyperbole that this sort of thing generates.
As technology develops it becomes more efficient, allowing information to move quickly and more freely. We all know and understand this but saying that Twitter or any other microblogging or lifestream application is going to replace the professional/mainstream media for quality reporting is pure folly.
And for anyone considering recommending Twitter to their clients, please remember that in the Internet communications world that we live in, the technology or channel should be completely subservient to the objectives and strategy of the programme/client.
However, it does look as if Twitter is moving from the early adopter market into the mainstream. It is easier to understand than blogging and definitely requires less time to participate: a link here a quip there, the odd bon mot or reply to a friend is all you really need to do compared to blogging which requires more time and thought (perhaps why I’ve been so crap at it lately).