Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Twitter feeds

In our class on Monday, we looked at using Twitter as a journalism tool, and at the various news organizations and personalities that have used the site to further their effectiveness. Here are some I noticed on the site:

1. The Boston Globe Patriots feed. Due to the nature of this blog, this would seem to be a good feed to look at. It is pretty complete, with links to all of the Globe's coverage available. Furthermore, it's a fast-updating site. For example, the hot topic of the day was Rosevelt Colvin's resigning with the team, which was made official this morning. There were already four articles published on the subject in four hours, one of which was a locker room interview. That type of attention to updating material is often the sign of a healthy feed, which it appears the Globe's Patriot site is.

2. Barack Obama has a twitter feed as well. Or at least his campaign does. Anybody researching Obama, looking to analyze his approach to the presidency or trying to find an example of his politics can make good use of this feed. You can find a long list of his speeches on the feed, so if you were looking to prove that he is flip-flopping on a particular issue, you could trace down the individual rally that could serve your point. As it may be easy to understand, a Washington reporter could make good use of this feed.

3. The Patriot Ledger is also getting in on Twitter mania. For a newspaper feed, this one isn't great. It appears to just be a glorified RSS, and with hardly enough updates (sometimes going 10-12 days without one), it can't be confused for being the most up-to-date news source in the world. It does have links to the stories, however, so it qualifies as functional.

4. And would you look at that. Darth Vader has a feed. The journalistic merit may not quite be up to snuff, but the feed is essentially a Darth Vader blog. We've talked in class about how the line between blogging and journalism can be blurred or, in some cases, gotten rid of. If you're looking for humorous Star Wars material for a multiple-years-old movie review, this is your site.

All in all, I see the good that Twitter can do, but most sites seem to simply turn their feeds into RSS knockoffs. I'm not sure whether that's a fault of the individual members or the makeup of the site, however, I'm not convinced that Twitter is the same revolutionary tool that sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Google Reader have been.

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