Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Twitter Democratizes News Feeds

News from people & organizations that you care about is a niche Twitter fills better than its current competitors. The converse is also true: it lets people who care about you & your organization get news about you easily. The result is a huge democratization of "News You Can Use".
  • Anyone can feed the news! It is trivially easy to set up a Twitter feed about yourself or their organization; simply set up a Twitter account and start posting news. This can be the headlines of the same press releases you send out by other means, with a link to your site for the full information.
  • Anyone can read your news. Potential readers simply "Follow" you, and it comes to their preferred device, e.g. cellphone or laptop. This is a lot simpler for the user than RSS feeds or Google Reader and much more customizable than news web sites.
  • Networking. Sharing twitters with others is easy. This makes every users a judge of what information is worth sharing. This democratization of the news has plusses and minusses similar to other information democratization efforts (e.g. wikipedia), but like them, it's not going to go away so you might as well get used to it.
  • Filtering. Twitter is deservedly mocked for silly content (e.g. "Britney Spears is getting a hair cut") but readers interested in more serious topics can simply choose not to follow Britney's account. Unlike conventional news aggregators, the Twitter default is to "ignore"; you proactively choose what to follow.
  • Efficient writing. Twitter compels brevity. This is good.
  • Add-Ons. It appears to be so easy to code add-ons to twitter that just keeping track of them could be a chore. Out of this explosion of creativity, a few great ones will rise. My current favorite is twitterfeed, which twitters blog postings so that (for example) this very post will get twitted soon and I don't have to do any extra work!


  • I'm interested in news about justices matter, media manipulation of the news, and my relatives. Therefore I follow the Twitters of accesstojustice, Media Matters for America, and several frieand my close relatives.
  • I furnish news about free Continuing Legal Education, and about my other interests. therefore I provide the Twitters 4freeCLE and rewinn.

Why Not?

If you provide news of any sort, ask yourself "Why am I not repurposing my content on twitter?"
  • Do you not want your news to reach a wider audience?
  • Are you unable to write a short headline?
  • Do you prefer that your competitors seize the niche?
The entry cost is low, the potential benefit is large and best of all, you'll contributing to the democratization of the news. Therefore, it's a no-brainer: YOU TWIT!
Update: A few tips from journalisttweets.com

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