Twitter is news King! McChrystal interview with Rolling Stone and Toronto earthquake

Twice this week Twitter had the news faster than other media – McChrystal interview with Rolling Stone and Ottawa earthquake

Twitter is now the fastest and most up-to-date source for news from any source. This week the military career of General McChrystal went down in flames in three days when his Rolling Stone magazine interview got leaked by Twitter. When McChrystal went into the White House and left 20 minutes later, his movements were instantly traceable on Twitter. I turned on CNN to hear the news if he had been fired but it came by Twitter first.

At 1:41 PM Eastern Time an 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit north of Ottawa Ontario, Canada. Within a minute the first Tweets started on my iPad. Then they came in a rush. Soon the Ottawa Citizen was asking people to send photos. About 1 hours and 10 minutes later CBC had a breaking story about the Ottawa earthquake but it was all over by then. Someone posted a video of their fish tanks swaying. It beat any media for video coverage.

A guy with a sense of humor made up a video with thunderous sound effects. CTV interviewed him already for his novel reporting.

The funniest tweet was Charlottetown’s Rob Lantz wondering if PEI would get hit with a Tsunami coming down the St. Lawrence river.
If you want CBC or CTV coverage you’ll have to wait because the traditional media are not working on Twitter-time. By then the story is old news. Tomorrow both stories will be front page in your local and out of date newspaper.
The only downside of Twitter time is that things happen so fast it’s hard to get back to yesterday’s stories or even something from this morning. Keep watching TV or Google for older news I guess.

McChrystal Interview
The interview with Rolling Stone magazine happened during the cancellation of European flights due to the volcano in Iceland. Apparently McChrystal and his staff were holed up in Paris with too much time and not enough common sense.
Rolling Stone tried to sit on the story to boost magazine sales. They did leak it to AP but AP didn’t move the story. They didn’t know what to do with it.
Once it broke on Twitter, the story went viral in minutes. By the end of day Monday, the White House had recalled the general and his fate was pretty much sealed. Not only had the story made the rounds but the commentary on Twitter and the Internet more or less ended his career.
It’s hard to hide when news travels at Twitter time.

Click HERE to read more columns by Stephan Pate.

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