Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

US Airways plane crash appears on Twitter first

Photo by J. Krums

Today was another example of how Twitter users break news first. The US Airways #1549 plane crash in the Hudson River was a perfect example of how user-generated media has become so commonplace for Twitter users.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen real breaking news on Twitter before mainstream media. Is 2009 the year of citizen journalism?

The news comes to us via regular folks on Twitter, the tweets spread like wildfire as they are retweeted, then traditional media picks up the story. Ironically, said traditional media then tweet the story. News is increasingly coming from outside our “normal” sources, news is coming from inside our own social circles.

It’s far from the end of traditional media, very far. It’s still traditional media who fully investigate the stories. We are all accustomed to trusting the legitimacy of a news story only after it has been reported by mainstream media. Let’s face it, as soon as you saw the first tweet today about the downed plane you probably turned to (etc.) for the full story. I’ll admit that I did too, but there was no story to be found – yet.

Then there’s the coverage. Not only are we learning about breaking news faster on Twitter, but we’re actually seeing the news there too. Take Flickr user, Gregory Lam’s first shots of the crash scene. I learned of his photos via Twitter. Not to mention the photo (above) by Janis Krums @jkrums, who tweeted his shot via Twitpic.

What do you think? Is 2009 the year of citizen journalism?


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