An increasing number of sources tend to be in agreement: more people appear to be choosing Twitter as a news source over viewing traditional media outlets. While actual statistics may be hard to measure accurately, consider a few comparisons.
CNN regularly has approximately 1.1 million viewers (this number increases during major events of importance, such as the recent presidential election.) However, at the time of this writing, CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk on Twitter) has 2,764,433 followers. Of course, it isn’t really all that hard to figure out why there is such a major difference in numbers.
Through Twitter, and with a mobile device, people can receive updates anytime, anywhere, as soon as they happen. Seeking out a television or a radio is no longer a necessity for receiving breaking news, and waiting for the morning newspaper to read about a news story is simply an outdated concept.
Consider the death of Michael Jackson. Within a manner of minutes, millions across the globe were aware of the story before many of the major networks had even assembled their news team. An unfortunate side effect of the Twitter effect is the rapid spread of misinformation, such as the reported death of Jeff Goldblum, or false Amber Alerts that circulate through Twitter on a recurring basis.
Still, credible news sources, such as CNN, no doubt are well aware of the massive reach Twitter can give them beyond the restrictive confinements of television. The entire world is rapidly turning mobile, and the desire for instant information is perhaps more prevalent than instant gratification. Twitter is the means to fulfilling that desire, and will likely play a major role in the evolution of media.
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