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Hudson River crash reveals Twitter in league of its own for breaking news

For my part, the story of the plane that crashed into Hudson River started with this message on Twitter:

@BreakingNewsOn is checking on reports that a plane has crashed in the Bronx, New York. More to come.

More messages from @BreakingNewsOn, several others chip in, incl @davewiner and @HAX. I go upstairs, turn on the TV (about 15min after the story broke now): NOTHING. Web: nothing on the frontpage of, NRK or BBC; - NRK headline story is former prime minister Kåre Willoch: "Eg angrar ikkje" (Je ne regrette rien), a storm in a teacup if you ask me - but CNN has the goods. Good, very moving web-TV.

I go downstairs again and find a cacaphony of people informing each other on Twitter; sharing tidbits of what's happening and who's twittering, who's goot footage and snapshots, including these amazing pictures. At this point has the plane crash story, but still not as top story - Willoch still rules the evening (FAIL).

And no, I'm not trying to break any news with this post, for that it is much too late: both for this particular news story and when it comes to Twitter's record for being the first place to look for breaking news stories - this is just a snapshot of how I got the news, recorded as much for myself as anyone else. 

A few comments from the Twittersphere :

@kevglobal Still "don't get" Twitter? Enter "Hudson" or "Airways" into right now. Brace for bad news; plane crash

@webbmedia Twitteverse, Twitpic, excellent job! I'm amazed at how much information I learned so quickly...While waiting AT AN AIRPORT!

Update 16/1, 11:24 CET: just remembered that I removed the Twitter widget from this blog recently due to a security bug, but you'll find me twittering here: @KristineLowe


Your experience is identical to mine. I think micro blogging and all the services that is built around and on top of it is changing the media landscape. Maybe changing it even more than we can imagine today...

Indeed. Not only the speed, but also the fact that Twitter is interactive - that you can talk, share news etc while it's happening - makes a huge difference. I used to think TV was boring, these days I find it archaic. Listening to correspondents go on and on for ten minutes or more from the Israel/Palestine conflict without actually knowing anything about what's happening, just babbling in front of the camera to be "live", to be there, to provide colour, makes me cringe. If they have nothing to say, why not sum in up in a sentence or two and leave it at that: interview local people for colour and leave the speculating to experts who can give an interesting analysis (but then, that can get boring as well when I can neither chip in nor share). The whole one-way broadcast experience often makes me either cringe (e.g when it's uninformed) or just feel restless and bored.

During the recent riots and protests in Greece I found Twitter was not only faster than the traditional media but also more reliable. People were sending in eyewitness accounts via mobile phones and sharing interesting links to other sources.

It was interesting to see how quickly people started using social media to get their message out. I had predicted that this would happen in two, three years but it took less than three weeks.

Also the case of Greece trying to ship US arms to Israel also came to light via Twitter and within hours Greek bloggers had started talking about it. Only after a couple of days did the mainstream media bother investigating.

I heard about it on Facebook but quickly went to Twitter to check it out.

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