This just in…News no longer breaks, it Tweets

Following the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, Twitter once again celebrated its CNN-moment. This isn’t its first however, which actually seems to be news to emerging media pundits. The new reality of a real-time world is that news no longer breaks, it Tweets. We are the architects of a new media alert system, TNN – the Twitter News Network. And, because of us, we have set a foundation for which news media can more effectively track, check, and report on breaking stories as they unfold.

We are connected, we are the new wire…

As I shared with Jon Swartz of USA TODAY earlier…

When Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual on Twitter) inadvertently live tweeted the Osama Bin Laden raid, the Twitter News Network (TNN) proved once again that it is the live wire for everyday people to break news. When Keith Urbahn @keithurbahn published the first credible report that the U.S. killed Bin Laden, TNN was also the people’s news source. Is it the biggest event in social media? It is among them, but that’s not the point. What it does signify however is that the gap between events and reporting is where Twitter shines as a human seismograph. This is yet another example of the importance of social media and the role it plays in monitoring the pulse of world events.

Twitter isn’t journalism, but it is a perfect beast for committing acts of journalism. Long before the news media and as President Obama was learning about the details of the events in Pakistan, individuals following @ReallyVirtual, @mpoppel, and @keithurbahn witnessed first hand as the operation developed and the real news emerged.

There are countless stories that already unravel the Tweets to show how Twitter was well, just being Twitter…a conduit for us to share our experiences as we experience them. Instead, I would like to focus on you, me, and how the magic of shared experiences in social “me”dia come alive in what I refer to as the information divide…the space between an event and when media fact check and officially report it.

We are literally making the world a much smaller place. Tied to connectedness, Twitter is equally magnificent at merging reach and velocity.  The ability to propel news as reported by everyday people around the world in minutes consistently is as wonderful as it is surprising.  And if words are a gateway to one’s soul, in the digital realm, they are the portage to insight and analytics. Shortly after the hail of Tweets, Twitter published an interesting data report that demonstrates the breathtaking volume of our ability to share what moves us.

The Bin Laden news peaked at 11 pm EDT with 5,106 Tweets per second (TPS) following the all time TPS high set by NYE 2010 at 6,939 TPS. Most notably,  According to Twitter, the news event held the highest sustained rate of Tweets to date, hitting 3,000 TPS between 10:45 and 2:20 am, climbing to 38,7 million tweets in just  3.5 hours.

Social media monitoring and analytics platform Sysomos published data that was equally revealing.

In less than 12 hours since the tweeting began we saw almost 40,000 blog post and news articles and an astounding 2.2 million tweets all talking about Osama Bin Laden. As well, while no surprise that people in the US were talking the most about this event a look at our geo-location map shows us that people all over the world were tweeting about the news.

Twitter and social media bestow you and me with a platform to become extraordinary – even if for but a moment. We now possess freedom of Tweet, which represents nothing less than the beginning of the end of the era of #commandandcontrol

We will not be silenced.

p.s. Congratulations Will & Kate. While we celebrate in this news, we also celebrate your marriage, your love, and the hope it gives everyone around the world that a market for “happily ever after” does indeed exist.

More on the evolution of news and journalism…

Interview with Dan Farber, Editor-in-Chief of CBSNews.com

Interview with Katie Couric

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook


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  • http://profiles.google.com/annabellesun Sun Annabelle

    Although Twitter and journalism are different, both Twitter and journalism are to communicate with audiences and send out messages. Twitters can be two way communication, but in most cases journalism is one way communication. Even in this case, twitter will never replace journalism.

  • http://profiles.google.com/annabellesun Sun Annabelle

    Although Twitter and journalism are different, both Twitter and journalism are to communicate with audiences and send out messages. Twitters can be two way communication, but in most cases journalism is one way communication. Even in this case, twitter will never replace journalism.

  • http://www.stephendenny.com Stephen Denny

    Brian: many interesting observations to be found in the OBL tweetstorm! When I heard the president was calling an “emergency press conference” at 7:30PM Pacific, I did what I think many of your readers did: I reached for my iPhone. Twitter broke the story at 7:31PM. The mainstream media began talking about it at about 7:44PM. The story was over by the time the president found his way to the microphone over an hour later.

    Another point is that while accidental journos may accidentally break stories, we still wait for known figures in the media to tell us what really happened. We still turn to the media. Old media isn’t dead – it’s just their old broadcast methods that we’ve found superfluous. There’s still a big role for authority here that the rest of us really can’t fill.

    Thanks!

  • http://mattrhysdavies.com Matt Rhys-Davies

    It was incredible to see Twitter hitting 5000 Tweets per second – it absolutely blew my mind when i spared a second to think of all that information being consumed and transferred. It’s only in the last few months I’ve really appreciated the true power of Twitter.

    Not sure why it’s taken so long…

    Cheers,
    Matt

  • Dave

    Indeed an interesting post – however does the ‘tweet’ community not get it’s source from the news – and then just ‘twitter’ about it?

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  • Rachael King634

    The world of technology is always changing. Real time news is something that we have all come to expects. Twitter is just one outlet form the common person to be heard. This makes one wonder if traditional news stations will dwindle in future years. I think that there will always be a place for CNN and MSN because we want verification for the real time news we can access from a social network, but I do believe that their role is changing.

  • http://www.automatedsocialnetworking.com Treb

    Great post… It is really really informative and a great read… Thanks for sharing…

  • http://www.simplyzesty.com Niall Harbison

    I really hope that this can be the end of this debate because I don’t think it’s news any more that all the social media blogs should be writing about real world events. The likes of Mashable and Facebook blogs are essentially just news sites now as they go around reporting how “social media” broke the news. They are in fact just piggybacking on to mainstream traffic terms to try and increase their own traffic. We get it social media breaks the news! BTW not saying that about this post at all, you are spot on as usual :)

  • http://www.simplyzesty.com Niall Harbison

    I really hope that this can be the end of this debate because I don’t think it’s news any more that all the social media blogs should be writing about real world events. The likes of Mashable and Facebook blogs are essentially just news sites now as they go around reporting how “social media” broke the news. They are in fact just piggybacking on to mainstream traffic terms to try and increase their own traffic. We get it social media breaks the news! BTW not saying that about this post at all, you are spot on as usual :)

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  • http://www.socialmarketingdynamics.com/ Sydney @ Social Dynamics

    Admittedly, I turn to twitter for real time news, though you certainly have to weed out the morsels of genuine information to those who are just spamming or posting unnecessary thoughts. Twitter is a great way to gauge interest, though it is necessary to keep abreast of what can probably be just a hoax to what is real.

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  • http://www.allstar-mailing.com/variable-data-printing variable data printing

    We live in a society where it is a contest of who can get you news quicker. I believe, eventually, there will be a movement towards who can get you the news most accurately. It may take a few instances where people will be so quick to get the news out that they end up butchering an event, but I believe this will happen. 

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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