Twitter Becoming A Source, Not Just News

Twitter logo Is Twitter moving beyond being a news story and towards becoming a credible source for them?

Not too long ago I got excited whenever I saw Twitter mentioned as the subject of a news article. Recently, though, I’ve noticed an increasing number of mainstream news articles using Twitter as a source rather than a subject.

The idea of Twitter as a source for journalists is nothing new. Twitter users memorably beat the mainstream media to the punch during the June 2008 earthquake in Chengdu, and there was widespread coverage of Twitter’s role in getting a Berkeley student out of an Egyptian jail. However, it’s only recently that I’ve started to see the service mentioned as a source rather than a news story in itself.

The latest was a piece by Geoffrey York in today’s Globe and Mail about Chinese athlete Liu Xiang’s unexpected withdrawl from the 110-metre hurdles in Beijing. York writes:

“One fan at the Bird’s Nest stadium, Celia Chen, said the thousands of Chinese spectators seemed “shockingly angry” when they poured out of the stadium after their hero’s withdrawal. “This country really doesn’t know how to lose,” she told others on the Twitter social-networking service.

Twitter is far from being a household name. However, with recent Twitter-focused articles in Business Week, USA Today and LA Times and mentions like this cropping up with increasing frequency, that time may soon come.

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.