Quick: Which breaks news faster, Twitter or mainstream media? If you said Twitter, you'd be wrong. A new study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow ("Can Twitter replace Newswire for breaking news?") examines the extent to which news reporting in newswire providers and Twitter overlap, and whether Twitter often reports news faster. The results, based on 77 days of both manually and automatically identified news events, show that:
- Twitter reports the same events as newswire providers, but also a long tail of minor events ignored by mainstream media.
- Neither stream leads the other when dealing with major news events.
The study could demonstrate with confidence that Twitter scooped mainstream newswire providers on only 1% of the 27,000 news events studied.
According to Metro, Dr. Miles Osborne, who led the work, said: "‘In contrast to popular belief, our results show that neither stream consistently reports on breaking news first. Indeed, traditional newswire sources often report events before Twitter."
These results have been missreported elsewhere, for instance in Co.Exist. The Co.Exist article choose to emphasize a 20% preliminary percentage found by the researchers, not their final results. --Bill Paarlberg, editor (Thanks to venturebeat.com for the image.)
Bill Paarlberg, Editor of The Measurement Standard, has been writing about public relations measurement for 20 years. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of News Group International.