Is “The New York Twitter” the Future of News?

I’ve been in dozens of conversations over the last several weeks about how “blogging is dead” and “Twitter is the future of news” to “people only have time for the headlines” and the inevitable, “Of course newspapers are dying, whose got time to read an entire article?”

Oh really? If that’s the case, we’ve got really big problems kids (and they go beyond accelerating panic and fear about swine flu pandemics). If the objective with all of these new communications technologies is to be able to simply skim over the surface of news and information, then expect to see only the skin-deep stuff, the superfluous, and the inane.

It’s one reason why I gravitate toward those on Twitter who add value through linking to articles or posts. Yep…if something intrigues me I’ll go out and read it. In depth understanding is what I try to gain and maybe go off on tangents finding other opinions, perspectives and relevant information.

I reject those who think that we can truly know something through only the headlines.

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4 Comments

  1. andrew korf on May 11, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    http://www.truthdig.com and @truthdig as well as http://www.globalpost and @globalpost are increasingly becoming my “news” sources – initially on twitter – dive into website when the “headline” on twitter is interesting. sites like techcruch and @techcrunch and venturebeat along with @venturebeat go without saying.

    @andrewkorf



  2. jason on May 12, 2009 at 8:34 am

    That is one way to look at it. The other way is people are able to connect the dots. Ever been to a C-level meeting before? They want short bullet points not and talk in short bullet points, they don’t need to see 10 to 15 slides that go on and on about a subject just so the unenlightened project manager can illustrate how much he knows.

    I need to know that “Earthquake in China 100,000 dead, 80,000 missing, 40,000 r children, aftershocks likely. 500,000 homeless.”

    I don’t need to know the the other 1000+ words on the story. I can probably take from that several thousand are missing and/or trapped. That schools were crushed, that countries were giving aid, that we had a few hero’s, etc…

    Sometimes I think people like to hear themselves talk.



  3. Dan on May 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I don’t think anyone purports to “truly know something” by just skimming the headlines. The whole purpose of the NYTimes having a headlines only section is to encourage readers to actually click through to an article once they find one they like. Headlines don’t generate the advertising $$’s. It’s actually not incompatible with the way you use twitter now, as evidenced by your closing comment about using twitter for content discovery… the NYTimes is attempting the same thing.



  4. Steve Borsch on May 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Dan — Guess my satirical view wasn’t apparent enough (as was my Photoshopping of the actual NYT page to make it appear as headlines only).

    My point was that an in-depth publication like the NYTimes (which I subscribe to *and* consume with both an iPhone app and the new, awesome, Times Reader 2.0 app) would be worthless as a headlines-only publication and that, unfortunately, our society is increasingly looking at headlines with little drill-down or critical thinking about the depth and breadth of a story.



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