Want to know what's happening? Dump the cynicism.


Want to know what's happening? Dump the cynicism.

There are naturally those that look at Twitter with a great deal of cynicism and you can spot them because they roll their eyes and sigh when ever the subject comes up.

"It's full of people saying that are having a cup of coffee or are washing their hair," has been one comment I've heard made more than once.

But in a world where the speed with which news spreads round the world can be measured in seconds and minutes Twitter is proving to be a very useful way of keeping in touch. Michael Jackson's death was called on Twitter by as much as an hour before the traditional broadcast media were prepared to make that announcement. When news breaks on Twitter the community shares it, discusses it and spreads the message. Great when things are true and admittedly not so good when they are not. But so far most things have been true and the knowledge has been useful.

The latest example has to be the HP acquisition of Palm. What starts with a tweet from a news service simply stating: "BREAKING HP buys Palm" lights the blue touch paper and the next hour is spent with the news announcement being shared and then people commenting on it.

It keeps us as journalists on our toes because my colleague Alex Scroxton also went online to write about it and put more meat on the bones.

But from a reseller perspective how else could you walk into the office this morning not just knowing about the acquisition but also having seen some in the analyst community tweeting about it and getting a view that most of them don't think it will save Palm. An hour spent with news that is fresh, debate that is live is perhaps more valuable than catching up on a news bulletin broadcast on TV after the Champions League game, that is running film taken earlier in the day.

The way information is shared is changing and you can join in for free or sit on the sidelines and wait to catch up with the rest of the world.

This was first published in April 2010

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