Like many, I first learned about yesterday’s Chino earthquake via Twitter. I was taken by the discussions about how useful the service is for breaking news. Lots of folks agree with MG Sigler who’s excited about Twitter as a news tool:
It takes reporters time to set up and get the story, but Twitter turns thousands of regular people into citizen journalists — all of whom are on the scene.
The only thing Twitter does better than the traditional news is speed. It doesn’t do depth, it doesn’t do fact-checking, it doesn’t do real reporting. It does breaking news…. The mainstream press should embrace Twitter and use it to source and enhance their news coverage; they should not worry about being outshined by it. Twitter will never outshine the mainstream press as long as reporters continue to do what they do best — get on the ground, talk to the right people, find out what’s really going on, and deliver what they find with as much depth as possible.
The discussion prompted me to wonder aloud about how Twitter might have played on 9/11, how our collective and individual memories would be different had we been reading 140-character reports on that sunny fall morning. My first reaction was similar to that of my two dinner companions, it would have been “grossly disturbing.” @ericagee responded that the recorded voice mail messages were enough to give her “nightmares for months.” Live tweets would surely have added to our picture of the tragedy, but would we be better for it?