Off Book: The Impact of Twitter on Journalism

The world of journalism has changed in the internet era. Newsrooms are significantly smaller now than they were 10 years ago, and news is no longer a once-a-day product, but instead a constant flow of information. The rise of Twitter brought concerns within the industry - would this overwhelming source of direct raw information put professional reporters out of business? Journalists are now faced with the challenge of adapting their roles in this digital era, finding new ways to add value to content, and helping to ensure that the internet is changing our worldview for the better.


Jeff Jarvis, Director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
Mark Luckie, Manager of Journalism & News at Twitter
Craig Kanalley, Senior Editor of Big News & Live Events at Huffington Post
Chris Anderson, Director of Research, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism

That is HuffPost’s Craig Kanalley at 2:30 in (there are, ahem, many women also with smart thoughts on Twitter and journalism, would be nice to see those voices included also, PBS offbook).


The game starts when you pick a side: Democrat or Republican. You can select each balloon and see the text of their tweet above. Your job is to identify party allies, and deflate your political opponents with a well-aimed dart.

Instructions for playing the Hot Air Game. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Neat gamification of political twitter commentary. 

Twitter Launches Political Index: The Twitter Pulse Of The Election

Right now, if you want to know how the country feels about Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have to rely on pundits’ intuitions or traditional opinion polls, conducted as they always have been — by phone, over the course of hours or days. There’s no direct way to check the pulse of millions of actual people, simultaneously and directly, second by second.

Twitter is launching a tool today that it says will fill that gap, and sort through the 400 million tweets a day from 140 million active users. Twitter and real-time search engine Topsy are launching the “Twitter Political Index,” a daily assessment of how Twitter feels about Obama and Romney, in an election cycle that’s being played out moment-to-moment on the social service.

(via sunfoundation)

Urgent tweet in Kenya village: Help, sheep missing

When the administrative chief of this western Kenyan village received an urgent 4 a.m. call that thieves were invading a school teacher’s home, he sent a message on Twitter. Within minutes residents in this village of stone houses gathered outside the home, and the thugs fled.

"My wife and I were terrified," said teacher Michael Kimotho. "But the alarm raised by the chief helped."

The tweet from Francis Kariuki was only his latest attempt to improve village life by using the micro-blogging site Twitter. Kariukiregularly sends out tweets about missing children and farm animals, showing that the power of social media has reached even into a dusty African village. Lanet Umoja is 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of the capital, Nairobi.

"There is a brown and white sheep which has gone missing with a nylon rope around its neck and it belongs to Mwangi’s father," he tweeted recently in the Swahili language. The sheep was soon recovered.

Kariuki said that even the thieves in his village follow him on Twitter. Earlier this year, he tweeted about the theft of a cow, and later the cow was found abandoned, tied to a pole.

Kariuki’s official Twitter page shows 300 followers, but the former teacher estimated that thousands of the 28,000 residents in his area receive the messages he sends out directly and indirectly. He said many of his constituents, mostly subsistence farmers, cannot afford to buy smart phones, but can access tweets through a third-party mobile phone application. Others forward the tweets via text message.


Data Visualization: World travel and communications recorded on Twitter

By Eric Fischer

Green is physical movement from place to place; purple is @replies from someone in one location to someone in another; combining to white where there is both.

Reported trips to Null Island excluded; all other geotags trusted. Endpoints of trips are real data; routes in between are fabricated.

Data from the Twitter streaming API through September 1, 2011. Continent shapes from Natural Earth.

See larger versions of the above image here

Spread of Earthquake-Related Tweets


Below is a visual of the Tweets from VA and Washington, DC one minute after the August 23 #earthquake.

This is an official Twitter visualization we created to see how far and fast a tweet can travel. This is part of what we do on Twitter’s analytics team. Join us: http://twitter.com/jobs .