Friday, 7 May 2010

First past the post

As the final result in the UK General Election 2010 (or should I say the first General Election of 2010?) has been announced, there has been one clear winner in terms of data-feeds. As frustrated news addicts were wondering what was taking Devon West and Torridge so long to declare, news was already spreading. Where? On the newest news-feed on the block – Twitter.

The Labour candidate was Tweeting-As-He-Waited and announced the news that that Tories had held the seat. It didn’t take longer before the official Conservative Tweeter announced their victory. It took other news providers 30 minutes or so to catch up and update their web pages. Of course it would – it takes longer to update and check a web page with comprehensive information than it does to Tweet 140 characters of news.

Does any of this matter? Well, perhaps not very much, but it’s interesting that when people are eager for news, they turn to whoever can provide the information the fastest. During the Eurostar train problems back in February, the company was criticized for using Twitter to promote its services, rather than update passengers with the latest news.

For those who don’t see the point of Twitter, or wonder whether it’s just a fad (you know who you are), today was an interesting example of how relevant data will be valued in whatever format is available.

13 comments:

  1. A good medium is surely one which establishes a niche, broad or narrow, and defends it successfully in cost and convenience.

    But the niche Twitter occupies today is merely an inferior substitute for a primitive medium of more than a century ago: Ticker Tape.

    How inconvenient for the lucky UK PM candidate that he can no longer be garlanded and strewn in a parade of "Twitter" - as were US presidents in "Ticker" of yesteryear?

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