‘Live’ Coverage Redefined by Twitter

Black Swan

The year was 1962, Anthony Burgess’s now infamous classic, A Clockwork Orange had just made it out of the printing press and into bookstores. In it, he portrayed a dystopian world set a few decades into the future. Anyone familiar with the sci-fi classic would remember his idea of a ‘world-cast’. It was essentially what we would call a ‘Live’ broadcast today.

1967, the program Our World made the first global telecast, The Beatles’ performance amongst the highlights. That day onward, ‘Live’ coverage could only get better and better.

Fast forward to this day, ‘Live’ television is not only demanded, but taken rather for granted. For all of its merits, ‘Live’ television had a drawback – it required the audience to physically be watching it; or in the case of radio, be listening to it. If you missed it, there was no immediate way of finding out what you missed other than to nudge the person closest for a quick update.

Enter Twitter. Its 140 character updates, combined with the ability to fire off tweets from anywhere in the world with an internet connection as fast as one’s fingers can compose text, make it perfect for ‘Live’ commentary and coverage of any event. For the audience, it provides a quick way to keep up with events as they unfold. This allows news consumers to stay informed even when they are not actively listening or watching the news. The best examples thus far would be the unrest in Libya, and, on a lighter hearted note, the Oscar’s award ceremony this year, where journalists (of the citizen sort or otherwise), kept audiences up to speed with bursts of tweets kept within 140 characters with telegram like pithiness.

In an age where audiences have their hunger for fresh information bolstered by such technology, the succinct, headlines only approach to newscasting is setting a standard never seen before. Newspapers, still the most widely distributed formal form of news dissemination, never had to play catch-up quite like that.

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