Futurists revisit idea of a 'Twitter News Network'

In this video, two experts bring their international perspectives on the future of Twitter, claiming that as a news service it will be bigger than CNN.

According to new ComScore data, 32.8 million users flocked to Twitter last month, nearly a third more as compared to July '10. That spells hundreds of billions of more tweets for users to grapple with as they seek ways to discover, filter, and consume content meaningfully on one of the world's top social networks.

To help with the information overload and better surface breaking news, the idea of a Twitter news service popped up late last year when co-founder Biz Stone told Reuters in an interview, "I think a Twitter News Service would be something that would be very open and shared with many different news organizations around the world."

To date, Twitter hasn't followed through on the idea of an open news wire for media organizations yet it breaks news faster than traditional news outlets.

In the 9-minute video below, media experts Gerd Leonhard and Ross Dawson discuss the future of the site and their idea of a "Twitter News Network” or TNN-- "a news distribution media, dramatically increasing the speed of news, with most news hitting Twitter within 40 seconds."

Here are some of their key discussion points.

  • TNN will be bigger than CNN, including video and audio on Twitter, produced by the masses with rich filtering
  • One of the key differences between TNN and CNN is the filtering – there is none on Twitter whereas CNN has editors and verification.
  • In the decade of the reputation economy we will have more ways to assess news validity, though we will also need more finely tuned senses on what is or might be correct.
  • Twitter is an ocean whereas mainstream news is a dripfeed so it is more manageable. It is the role of the ecosystem around Twitter to filter the news firehose. Flipboard, paper.li, Twittertim.es, Geneio and so on are seeking to filter Twitter and social media.
  • One of Twitter’s revenue models is charging companies significant amounts for access to the full Twitter firehose, but the ‘Spritzer’ feed of 2% of the firehose is available for free.
  • In a world of information overload, Twitter is one of the most useful information sources if you know how to use it well.
  • You can’t talk about swimming if you don’t want to get wet – to learn about and understand Twitter you have to use it.

Related on ZDNet:

The coming flood of corporate media in social networks

Why Twitter inherently reports news before traditional media

The mobilization of breaking news through Twitter

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