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25/02/2009 by

Twitter – World’s Fastest News Source

Twitter isn’t the new kid on the block anymore. Globally, the amount of users is growing day by day. Today Twitter showed me once again the viral spreading speed it has to offer. News is going like crazy and doesn’t only reach a tremendous amount of people, but also reaches high influental sources like newspapers.


This post describes the case of Twitter and the Schiphol airplane crash.

Just like the Hudson crash earlier this year, within minutes after the crash the first reporters were born –regular Joe’s started spreading the news. As soon as the crash was noticed, Twitter users started reporting from the scene and broadcasted the news even before authorities gave out the official word.

First pictures were published by Twitter users and word on the streets is that Twitter even beated BBC by 15 minutes. The crash became a big topic on Twitter and 6 out of 10 trending topics on Twitter were related to the crash: it really was a global phenomenon if I may believe the search.

If you take a look at the image below, you can see the keywords crash, Schiphol (the name of the airport) and Amsterdam were even a hotter topic then the brand (and the fruit) Apple:

(click to enlarge)

Whats even more amazing is the fact that journalists from newspapers, television channels and other official authorities claim Twitter as a source for their material. Broadcasting news to the masses isn’t a thing for just official journalists anymore. Eventhough the traditional media might be more effective in quality, newssources like Twitter (and other blogs) will be heavier in quantity and in speed.

Twitter is still growing. Celebrities keep joining Twitter and word of mouth is spreading faster and faster. Twitter might not be the tool that’ll still be the tool that stands out in the future, but microblogging itself will keep growing and showing opportunities.


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Matthijs Roumen

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Comments (5)

  • Igor Beuker 26/02/2009, 01:53

    Citizen journalism 2.0?


    • Jep, absolutely.
      Its remarkable to see that highly financed initiatives like (the Dutch) Skoeps failed, while services like Twitter enable the same effect.

  • Cindy King 01/03/2009, 17:08

    When the plane went down in the Hudson there was a tweet by someone on a rescue boat along the lines of “plane down in the Hudson and we are going to rescue them”. Since so many people use twitter on their mobile phones we will be hearing a lot of the first news from twitter.

    I just installed (yet another) toolbar yesterday that allows me to see some images and the preview window for a video in my twitter screen. If tools like this become common I can see Twitter being more important than CNN of breaking news. Someone will almost always be closer to an accident than a camera team.

    I use Twitter as part of my business (@CindyKing) and find it very useful. My business is not breaking news, but Twitter is a great tool for business, it’s not just for the news.


  • Hi Cindy, thanks for the comment!
    My point for this posting wasn’t really about the use for journalists and newssources, but more the fact that different kind of aspects are making Twitter huge and global; news is one of them. See also this presentation by Evan Williams at TED.

    Twitter is becoming useful in so many ways. Its just a matter of time before it’ll be totally mainstream.

  • Gayle MacGregor 05/07/2012, 16:01

    Twitter is a vast source of (breaking) news, and cutting through the noise to get to the best and most reliable content is going to be key for twitter users, including journalists, news organisations, bloggers etc. We’re a start up and that’s what we are trying to do. Not only that but we want to highlight citizen content, and provide real-time analysis. See what you think: