Microblogging-as-News Gets Real: Will it last?

It’s been one watershed moment after another for Twitter, as the microblogging platform has emerged as a  source for breaking news from the Iran elections to news of Michael Jackson’s sudden death, and a lot of smaller stories in between.

In the past couple  of months we’ve seen the evolution of Twitter in the public eye as a online time-waster for narcissists and salespeople, to a playground for celebrity gossip-watchers,  to something that is approaching a credible newsmedium. But how long will this last?

Hell if I know. The swiftness of this particular evolution is pretty unprecedented, though keeping with the lightning-fast speed of social media’s rise, I guess. But Twitter in particular is increasingly serving as a crucial tool for journalists, not just to report news, but occassionally newsgathering and verfication too.

Twitter may come and go (and it probably will) but I think in the coming years we may come to see microblogging emerge as a respected news medium in a way that traditional blogging has never been able to accomplish. Why? The immediacy is probably the main reason. The real time reporting that is microblogging’s hallmark makes it a particular boon for reporters. Add to it microblogging’s multi-platform portability, the ability to report via smart phone, text and the web, and it’s possibe journalists – “citizen” and otherwise – to report whereever they are.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Twitter’s real-time functionality has made such verfication difficult, as breaking news flows in. Some forward-thinking journalists are already thinking of the issues of how to verify crdible sources via Twitter. Check out this blog post on how to verify tweets from Breaking Tweets founder Craig Kannalley , and then read more at the blog Twitter Journalism (there is some use to long-form writing, ocassionally) for more resources on microblogging as a journalism resource.

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