To the extent that Twitter is offering news consumers of all kinds access to the information they want — regardless of whether that information consists of “user-generated content” or links to other media outlets — it is a competitor. And to the extent that it can offer better curation or aggregation or filtering or targeting of that content, it will win.
What Matthew’s referring to is Twitter’s new hashtag pages that aggregate posts around a topic (such as this one for Nascar) along with the hiring of Mark Luckie as its creative content manager for journalism and the media.
Nascar example aside, the idea is that if breaking news happens, Twitter will be in a better position to launch a well curated, breaking news hashtag page than most (all?) media companies will be able to create and or curate content around the same.
Add to this what Dave Winer wrote last week:
A few years ago I was so sure that Twitter would be competing with news orgs that I urged them to start their own realtime networks to compete with Twitter. Just in case I’m right…
We’re still in the early days of online distribution of news. Twitter chose a cute little icon, like Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh. But the sweetness and light will fade when Twitter gets competition. With news orgs going for very little money, and with tech networks becoming sink-holes for cash, how long before the money jumps the gap and Twitter buys a struggling news organization. Look at it this way. How long before Twitter carries exclusive content. Wouldn’t it be smart to develop some options?
Well, if you’re waiting for the news industry to get smart about tech, my guess is you’ll wait a very long time.
Tomorrow’s news will look very different from yesterday’s, and the major players will be very different as well. It might not be Twitter but both Dave and Matthew have very good points.
Be wary. But don’t be afraid. — Michael