Did you hear about today’s emergency US Airways flight landing in the Hudson River on Twitter? Us too.
In what seemed like the world’s fastest news cycle, Twitter was undeniably the breaking source for all updates—and if it wasn’t breaking news, it was definitely where the news was disseminated. As soon as the crash happened there were eyewitness reports on Twitter, then a second wave of tweets appeared from those who were pointing to articles published on news outlets, then a third wave as soon as information emerged about possible causes, and then a fourth tweet wave (which is still flowing with 10’s of updates every second, even now) announcing that all passengers had been successfully rescued.
In an instant, everyone knew what was happening due in large part to the buzz on Twitter. It was like a massive telephone tree had been activated, and if you hadn’t heard, someone you know was about to tell you (and everyone else following their Twitter feed) the news.
Today’s events point to the value and power of microblogging sites like Twitter, that go beyond just knowing what your cubicle neighbor ate for lunch. This is the newest type of online / citizen journalism, and it’s clearly changing how we find and how quickly we consume news.