Thanks to Cybersoc for drawing attention to Tweet Scan, a site that allows you to keyword search public Twitter messages – another useful addition which makes it even less arbitrary and more newsworthy.
Twitter’s credo as a mainstream news device has been growing over the last few months. In September it launched a tracking service that allowed users to follow phrases on mobiles and through IM and it was used to good effect to follow real time reports of last year’s fires in East London and the Californian bush.
Robin makes the point that it’s a great resource for journalists looking for firsthand accounts from people close to events. To that I’d add it’s ability to mix professional and non-pro accounts around a topic. It’s short nature also lends particularly well to reporting traffic problems and other necessary travel information.
How I really want to see it used though is by a UK news publisher, be it national, regional or local, on a breaking news story. Be bold, I say.
Get an RSS feed from a Twitter search term embedded into a blog or on the news pages updating the user with alerts from the public and other news sources about breaking news events.