A Slice of Fried Gold

The Next Step?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One of the things that I'm really interested in is the pending death of print. It's not that I want it to go away, as I honestly don't think I'd ever like to read books or comics via digital media, but its impossible to ignore the fact that print news has decreased in relevance over the past decade. That's especially evident in the news sector of print, as you have to ask yourself why you would want to purchase a daily newspaper when you could simply get the news for free and faster online.

With the recent death of Michael Jackson though (this is the one and only time you'll hear about his death on here), something became evident even within the realm of online news. In terms of being used as an aggregator of news stories, Twitter is the next big thing in news. That's not fair actually. It already is the best option for news today, as you can collect news from around the world about all subjects all in one place at incredible speeds by following a few select users.

For example, the Michael Jackson deal. Here's the timeline for how the news spread in my office, starting with 0 minutes as when I found out and moving from there:

0 minutes: See a post on Twitter referencing a report from TMZ that MJ died. I announce to surrounding co-workers "crazy, Michael Jackson evidently died from a heart attack."

10 minutes: Coworker comes from office "Did you guys hear? Michael Jackson had a heart attack!" I share that he died. Response is incredulous statement of "that's not what CNN.com says!"

13 minutes: Another coworker comes out, she heard from an HBO rep that they are being sent home because MJ died and paparazzi was swarming. Their offices are in Westwood which is where MJ was taken into the hospital.

25 minutes: Another coworker comes down to say that she heard he had just died.

37 minutes: Big boss from end of the hall comes down to announce that MJ had died.

That whole timeframe made me realize a few things: if the optimized form of news is via online (versus print), then the optimized form of gathering online news is via Twitter. It combines the best two ways to acquire news into one single form, as it properly pairs word of mouth with the instantaneous transfer of information the online realm allows. Why go to multiple sites to acquire news when you can follow the same news sites Twitter feeds and have it delivered to you. Twitter in a few ways is the real form of the way information is delivered in Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan.

Clearly I've become some sort of Twitter fanboy, but I'm sold on this entirely. The power of Twitter at consolidating the day to day world is an extremely powerful thing, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next step is. Of course, when Twitter shuts down because of the massive amounts of increased traffic this type of thing causes, that makes me realize they need more capacity. Let's work on that, mmmk Twitter?


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