With Bhutto assassination, Twitter comes of age

With the recent assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Twitter has gained some credibility as a useful medium, says ZDNet. Dennis Howlett commented on Dec. 27, the day of Bhutto’s assassination, that “If anyone needed convincing of Twitter’s business utility, today is that day.”

Microblogging a la Twitter could be a credible way to share breaking news and information quickly, globally and telegraphically.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

2 thoughts on “With Bhutto assassination, Twitter comes of age”

  1. I actually learned about her assassination very early on, but it was via my New York Times Breaking News Alert e-mail, not Twitter. That clued me in to turn on the TV and listen to the radio for more news. Over the following days in-depth articles began appearing in the newspaper (I was mainly reading the Globe and Mail), covering her career, her accomplishments (as well as her failures), predictions about Pakistan’s long-term stability, etc. (I’ve actually reached the stage of over-saturation of information about Benazir Bhutto, although the political situation in Pakistan remains of enormous concern.)

    My question to you is what gaps in my information and understanding would Twitter have filled in that I didn’t get via my e-mail alert from one of the world’s most reputable news organizations (speed), timeliness of updated coverage (radio…in my case, the CBC and TV newscasts) and in-depth exploration (newspaper, both print and online)?

    Given that Twitter relies on taking a leap of faith re: the credibility of the person “tweeting” (i.e., authenticity and objectivity on reporting the facts), I remain unconvinced that Twitter has yet to emerge/evolve as a superior crisis communication tool.

    A perfect example was the California wild fires, where bloggers and even some publishing companies were waxing poetic about the power of the American Red Cross’ Twitter profile to get the word out. First off, in talking to four individuals *from* San Diego (in November), when asked none had even heard of Twitter, let alone its usefulness regarding the wild fires (they all raved about the Reverse 911 mechanism, as being the most effective crisis communication channel). Then I read a post by someone who attended the Society for New Communication Research’s recent forum, where Twitter and the wild fires was discussed. It seems that much-lauded American Red Cross Twitter account had a measly 126 registered users. And it’s unclear whether the registered users even lived in the San Diego area, or whether they were just interested “observers.” Kind of like the folks following the unfolding of events following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto…were Twitters actually *doing* anything with this information? Or was it merely just another channel for teeny, tiny bits of information being fed out?

    As I’m sure you’ve figured out, Andrew, I remain unconvinced! :-) But happy Twittering, all the same.

    Cheers,
    Judy

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