Those of us in the marketing/advertising industry know that sites like Twitter and Facebook aren’t just used for social networking anymore. In recent months, I have realized what a great resource Twitter is when it comes to information sharing and breaking news. It’s become even more obvious to me because of a first-hand experience. A couple weeks ago my mom called me to tell me she had just passed a building about a half-mile down the road from where I work with about twenty police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, and crime scene tape blocking off the parking lot. My mom was concerned because whatever was going on, it must have been a big deal. She was in the car so she wondered if I could figure out what was happening. I started to check statesman.com, kvue.com and all the local news sites. Nothing was mentioned on any of these sites. Frustrated there was no report yet, I decided to check Twitter. All I had to do was type in the search box the road we are on, Spicewood Springs Rd., and what do you know—numerous tweets mentioned the crime scene on Spicewood Springs Rd. and what had happened. It wasn’t for another fifteen minutes or so that the news websites and statesman.com had reported the incident. Even after I initially found out what had happened, Twitter was still the best resource to find pictures, new information, etc.
My point is this: those who don’t have experience with Twitter or Facebook don’t understand what a great resource these networking sites are and what makes them worthwhile. People say Twitter is as useful as you make it. It can be just a place for social networking, if that’s what you want it to be. However, if you use it the right way, it can be used for that PLUS getting answers to questions, reaching out to businesses, and, in this case, getting breaking news.