Using Twitter as a News Source: An Editorial

By Steve Byers

TweetDeck iconWhile reading yet another breathless pronouncement that Twitter would become the new newspaper, I suddenly had an epiphany: I’m just too lazy for that news media future.

The story, from PC magazine, talks about setting up a TweetDeck alert box on the corner of my computer screen where I can monitor the latest news feeds from selected publications.

That’s where my laziness comes in. It’s not just that I’m way too lazy to set up an efficient TweetDeck that “marvelously condenses your social media profiles and data streams into one highly customizable application,” but also that I’m too lazy to keep checking the thing constantly so that news that I care about isn’t bumped by even newer news that I care about (that, by the way, is my problem with Twitter; by the time I get around to checking it, important tweets telling me Bill Simmons′ opinion about the latest NBA trade or my niece’s [name withheld to protect the innocent] latest heartthrob are long gone, bumped by the likes of “Happy 4th of July” or “Today in new ways for the @cubs to lose —a WILD PITCH,” which are the two most recent Tweets in my feed.

It’s hard work keeping up with all the social media. Facebook posts are here, then buried under even newer posts. If I just weren’t so lazy, I’d spend all my time reading the new media. Or I could just read a newspaper, either on paper or online. I will point out that despite the fact that “everybody knows” the evening TV news is dead since “everyone” watches the 24/7 cable channels, viewership for the lowest-rated TV evening news show is about seven times that of the highest rated cable channel.

I guess there are a lot of lazy people.

Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. 

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