I’ll never forget the moment on Monday, April 15, 2013 when I checked Twitter and was overwhelmed by endless #Boston tweets.
I was sitting at my desk at approximately 3:20 p.m., knowing the Boston Marathon was taking place, however, not realizing the traumatic event that had just happened.
Since I had logged onto Twitter only 30 minutes after the Boston bombings, I was immediately notified of an event that shook our nation and running communities around the world.
My internship was with the 500 Festival, which hosts the largest half-marathon (35,000 participants) in the United States. This meant the 500 Festival was going to be immediately impacted by this horrific event and Twitter was the first place where this problem needed to be addressed.
No more than 10 minutes after discovering the news, I was tweeting from the 500 Festival account, sending condolences to those affected by the bombings and assuring Mini-Marathon participants the 500 Festival was already taking the safety measures needed for the upcoming half-marathon on May 4.
My personal experience is just one of the many ways Twitter has impacted breaking news.
Today, people aren’t looking for news – the news is coming to them. Twitter has allowed users to quickly discover and share news as soon as it becomes published.
When the Boston bombings took place, it wasn’t until after I checked Twitter when my CNN news app sent me a notification about the explosion.
According to Andrew Miller, Guardian News and Media CEO, Twitter has driven the most referrals to the newspaper’s website.
“Twitter has really helped The Guardian,” Miller said. “We’re at the heart of breaking news. Twitter is the fastest way to break news now.”
Twitter allows journalists to announce news quickly in 140 characters or less, which can be shared immediately with millions of followers. From the man who live tweeted the raid on Osama Bin Laden, to the announcement of the royal wedding in 2011, Twitter has taken over the way we consume and discover breaking news.
We now live in a world where millions of people can be notified of breaking news within a matter of seconds. According to a study by Pew Research, 36 percent of Twitter users follow news outlets to receive breaking news. This displays how more than a third of people on Twitter are receiving news as it becomes published and learning about breaking news before they even pick up a newspaper.
It’s no surprise Twitter has been able to deliver what many traditional news sources no longer can. While I still try to pick up the newspaper each day, the way we receive our news is becoming more instantaneous and digital.
We all know the world of journalism is evolving, and Twitter is the platform that carries us into a new era of journalism and information age.