Brij Singh's Blog

July 29, 2008

Real Time News (& Opinion) Distribution – Twitter beats Google

Filed under: Tech — Brij @ 5:08 pm
It hard to qualify initial Twitter Tweets related to serious topics as 'news'. Like for example this very first tweet announcing SoCal earthquake was made by Nicholas Hawkins. (Though there is bit of confusion on who actually broke the news).

holy shit earthquake in so cal

Now if you were reading this from public timeline on Twitter, you can potentially come up with two reactions. Laugh it off by saying this guy's apartment got hit by truck or take it seriously by thinking may be he is genuine and it's a first indicator of something serious.

Either case we don't have a quick way of verifying unless lot of people quickly retweet or validate via different sources. In the world of sub-minute information distribution, peer level validation is critical for random bits to be taken as news.

I think this sub-minute game is what makes Twitter interesting. And puts Google (and Reuters) in the legacy category (as far distribution velocity of news is concerned).

Rush to hit on SEND button is not unique to micro-blogging or for that matter blogging. We are witnessing video-game like rumor/excitement characteristic between introductory breaking news tweet (or blog post) and eventual validation tweet (or blog post).  What happens between these two phases is pretty much a citizen journalism equivalent of a roller coaster ride.

Time dimension is becoming increasingly important. We are in the sub-minute domain. Check out these two screens which compares how Twitter and Google covered LA earthquake news –

This is from Google News. I took both images with couple of seconds difference.

This using Twitter search (Summize)

Twitter has more chatter and gets better CPC (without the C off course). But you get the idea.

VentureBeat's blog post is 'first' on Techmeme. Not sure all this matters in the long run but just observing how news (and views) spread in early stage is fascinating.

News is followed by page view grab, and page view grab is followed by smart ad placements. That's where I think companies like MediaMath will play interesting role.

In any case Twitter beats Google on the sub-minute game.

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