5 Media/Communication Channels Twitter Has Impacted

    July 23, 2009
    Chris Crum

Twitter is everywhere you look these days. You don’t have to use it, but you can’t hide from it. If you live under a rock, chances are somebody’s sitting on top of that rock tweeting. It took a little bit for Twitter to catch on, but I think it’s safe to say that it has officially taken the world by storm. Let’s look at just a few ways it has impacted different forms of media and communication.

1. Instant Messaging

There’s no denying that Twitter has changed the way many people instant message each other. Twitter has not exactly eliminated the more traditional IM medium, but it has had a large impact on the way people communicate with each other in real time.

The biggest way Twitter has impacted this form of communication is by taking real-time conversations public. While, this is clearly not the only purpose of Twitter, or even the only way to communicate with it, you can see conversations happening in real time with @replies in any given Twitter stream, including the public timeline. While the conversations don’t always occur within the short timespan of an IM chat session, they often do, creating what many consider to be a bunch of "noise".

Public Twitter Conversations

2. Liveblogging

Tweeting is "microblogging," and technically, Twitter has impacted blogging in general. Like instant messaging, Twitter has not replaced this medium, but you have to wonder how many potential blog posts have been replaced with the far more convenient 140 character-max tweet.

That limit makes tweeting an ideal way to get "quick hits" out to followers, which is a method that caters quite nicely to liveblogging. eBay showed a good example of this when its eBay Ink blog liveblogged the company’s earnings call via Twitter rather than on the blog itself.

eBay Liveblog tweets

3. Press Releases

Jenniver Van Grove at Mashable has an interesting piece looking at a company called Muck Rack, who is offering a service providing one line "Twitter-style" press releases. Tweeting companies are already making their announcements via Twitter, which are sometimes even made before an actual press release goes out.

Muck Rack

That’s not to say that the press release doesn’t still have its place. Like the previously mentioned channels, Twitter provides a complimentary service to help spread the word even further.

4. News

It’s not news that Twitter can play a big role in breaking news. We’ve seen this time and time again. In many cases, when there is some kind of disaster or crisis, the news emerges on Twitter before any major news outlets. This makes sense, considering anyone who happens to be on the scene of any piece of breaking news only has to enter 140 characters or less to get the word out into the Twitterspere. From there it can spiral out of control. Is the news via Twitter model flawed? Certainly. Obviously, facts have to be checked before something can be considered accurate, but the same goes with or without Twitter.

Twiiter Hudson Plane Crash

Just flip on any news channel on television, radio, or the Internet, and you’re likely to find references made to Twitter or tweets somewhere. There’s a reason for that. Do you want to get all of your news from Twitter? Probably not, but yet again, it certainly compliments the other media. It’s a great way to quickly gauge the public’s opinion on matters as well.

5. Movies

Speaking of gauging the public’s opinion on matters, this applies to films just as with anything else. In fact, they’re saying that Twitter may even be playing a significant role in the success of movies at the box office. The reason for this of course is that word travels fast on Twitter.

Negative Bruno Tweet

Negative Bruno Tweet

With a simple retweet, users barely have to perform many keystrokes, and that word travels faster and faster. In my opinion, it’s not really that much different than word spreading about movies on the Internet at large, it’s just at a quicker pace, and via a channel (Twitter) where there is a huge audience. Twitter search no doubt plays a role in this too.

Love Twitter or hate it, there’s no denying that the service has already had a huge impact on pop culture and the way people communicate and retrieve information (as well as convey it). The jury’s still out on whether or not Twitter will be a successful company for the long haul, but it’s a pretty safe bet that it will always be remembered for what it has done to the world.