Wednesday, February 15, 2012

week5o- Navigating the Muddy Waters Between Breaking News and Social Chatter

Navigating the Muddy Waters Between 
Breaking News and Social Chatter

Above: Whitney Houston, date unknown from
Below: Images of 'tweets' announcing Houston's death taken from
The headline reads: Twitter Breaks News of Whitney Houston Death 27 Minutes Before PressThe story goes on to describe how the first "tweet" announcing Houston's death was initially thought to have come from Twitter user 'Big Chorizo @chilimasgrande'. However the piece continues by pointing out the the actual first "tweet" reporting the iconic singer's death actually came from 'Aha Dior M.@AjaDiorNavy' on Twitter some 15 minutes earlier, just 20 minutes after efforts to revive Houston ceased and she was pronounced dead. The Associated Press released


  1. This was a great idea for a blog posting! I was working on Saturday night when the news of Whitney Houston's death first broke out on Twitter. I saw it and questioned whether it was true or not (horrible right?) Soon after seeing multiple tweets from various users, my friend and I decided to google the question only to find out that there had been no reports. I found that shocking that such big news had broken out and spread so quickly on twitter before even hitting news sites or television. Within minutes, it was everywhere but twitter definitely had the news first. This example further demonstrates the increasing dominant power of social media.

  2. Thank you for your comments Liz. I agree with you that it is a bit unsettling how quickly a piece of "news" can travel through the groundswell. Particularly frightening to me is that rumor and innuendo can disseminate just as rapidly, and once that happens, well you can't un-ring a bell. Imagine if it was rumor about something more serious, involving national security, a massive disaster, or the state of the economy? It may sound like hyperbole to speak of such a possibility, but I think it is real and bound to happen at some point. For instance, suppose someone decided to orchestrate such a rumor in Japan that a Tsunami was coming? Can you picture it- the panic that would ensue- especially among the people who were there for the last one? It would be like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" on steroids! (Pardon the pun!)