I came across a very interesting read about why traditional media should be afraid of Twitter
. The blog GigaOM has many times argued that Twitter is essentially a media company in its own right, and that its methods of curating and distributing content continue to evolve to a point where traditional media outlets, such as newspapers, will see Twitter as more of a competitor than a partner.
Since I have a background in journalism, this certainly made me think about the role of a traditional reporter, and if a day is coming soon where Twitter might actually hinder her job instead of help.
Twitter is clearly evolving the way it curates the content placed within its platform, such as with the introduction of hashtag pages
and announcements of job openings for "producers" to help curate interesting tidbits around various events. This underscores the reality that good content curation is a sought-after business in itself, since it's getting to be nearly impossible to cut through the din of the Internet without such curation.
At an event, a reporter acts as a curator of information by gathering quotes from people, noting her own observations and then vetting other relevant facts or anecdotes. Ultimately, she is supposed to produce a comprehensive, non-biased accounting of what took place.
But with Twitter, it's like you're seeing the raw reporters' notes instead of a polished end product. There is no skilled practitioner through which to filter or vet information. You don't know if the information you're seeing is reliable — you just see it. Yes, you will have solid pieces of content in there amid the random observations from event-goers. But it's up to you to decide what you feel is trustworthy. Twitter is just organizing it for you to be more digestible — so you can be your own reporter.
That's kind of the scary part. Many believe journalism — even in a digital setting — is dying, because people don't necessarily want to hear information that challenges their personal beliefs and values. Further, they don't trust strangers they have never met to digest and interpret information for them.
To that end, it seems Twitter could not just compete with media companies that deal in news, but finally destroy their very foundations.
What do you think?