Twitter Wants To Be Viewed as a News Source - and Maybe Twitter 4 News Isn't So Farfetched

A couple of weeks ago, ReadWriteWeb posted on Twitter's Kevin Thau (he's Vice President of Business and Corporate Development for Twitter.Com) big announcement during Nokia World 2010 that Twitter isn't a social media site so much as it is a news site.   That's right: a source for breaking news on the web. 

Now, there's lots of commentary at ReadWriteWeb about Mr. Thau's promotion of Twitter as a news feed (41 comments as I type this) and you may have your own two cents' worth on this issue. 

My Clients Don't Respect Twitter as Social Media - They Use it to Share Information (i.e., as a News Feed)

Most of my law firm clients either know zip about Twitter - or they know something about it because their kids tweet.  Many lawyers that do know about Twitter consider it silly, something that self-absorbed people do with too much time on their hands.  Who has time for it? 

Clients that are acquainted with Twitter don't use it for discussion.  They zip bursts of information onto Twitter, tweeting about firm news, new blog posts, and the like.  From the comments on ReadWriteWeb, this seems to be the experience of many other individuals out there: "no discussion" is a common refrain by the commenters.

Discussion vs. Information: The Fork in Twitter's Road

Which means that Twitter needs to be seen as a news source, because that absence of discussion is sorta a death knell for a site touting itself a social media application.  Which is fine, because I think that Twitter IS a news source.  I recommend that my clients set up professional Twitter accounts and tweet regularly about business topics. 

Tweets as free, fast news releases: the Jackson Walker example.

Especially law firms; after all, consider Jackson Walker. Jackson Walker was fast to jump on the Twitter train and provides an excellent example of how tweeting is beneficial for law firms and other companies. 

Today, for example, Jackson Walker is tweeting its congratulations to the 40 firm lawyers that have been named 2010 Super Lawyers, with the tweet providing a link to more information.  Smart.  Tweet as news release.  

MSNBC's Breaking News vs. Twitter Trends

Breaking News, an MSNBC attempt to follow Twitter and organize news stories, isn't the best source of breaking news in my experience.  I've found that actually following trending tweets, or searching for a specific phrase regarding a news story, does give me the latest information on a news story. 

The Trends tool is especially useful on Twitter, since you can choose its scope -- from national news down to your local community.  Handy. 

Often, it's Twitter Trending Topics are the most interesting, as well -- people tweeting from the hurricane's path, the football stadium, the crash site.  Remember following the Balloon Boy on Twitter?

The Bottom Line:  Consider Twitter as a News Source -- Because Twitter is a News Feed. 

Twitter is a good news source.  Smart to start promoting as such -- because here's where Twitter really provides a unique, valuable service for us all.