Forget about the newspapers, radio, and television. When it comes to breaking news alerts first, the Internet reigns supreme and Twitter is king. Whether an earthquake rocks some part of the world or a famous figure dies, the popular free social networking and micro-blogging service will let you know about it within seconds of its occurrence.
Time and time again, Twitter has proven itself to be the fastest medium for delivering breaking news. Sure, the mainstream media like the BBC and CNN have their own updated websites, but they’re usually minutes slower to the punch and simply no match for the millions of Twitter users reporting in real time from the scene.
While inaccurate tweets do exist and you probably won’t find any in-depth news coverage, the community as a whole serves as a prominent source in breaking news alerts first and spreading the word, allowing others to at least know about what’s going on.
As those old G.I. Joe PSAs put it, “knowing is half the battle,” so let’s get right to it and find out how to track breaking news online with Twitter.
Follow the News
There are plenty of great Twitter accounts that specialize in bringing you only breaking news alerts. CNN’s (@cnnbrk) is the most popular, but if you’re looking for more updates daily, BNO News (@breakingnews) does it best.
Search for Updates
Once you have an idea of what’s happening, it’s easy to search for the latest updates and information. As well as providing the ability to monitor trending topics, Twitter’s own search service allows you to search for keywords. Twazzup, Monitter, and Tweet Scan are also great services for real-time results.
If you’re looking for pictures, head over to PicFog.
The real time image search service searches for picture links in tweets and continuously updates automatically. Learn more about PicFog in the MakeUseOf Directory.
Track the Buzz
When a breaking news event occurs, plenty of websites allow you to follow just how hot the story is. Very Recent is one of them, which plainly displays any news buzz on Twitter.
The issue of accuracy does come into play here however, with tweets that are false and not news at all coming up. For that, turn to Muck Rack. The site compiles journalists’ Twitter accounts from major media outlets all into one place. The result is real-time reporting from reliable sources.
Breaking news alerts can also take some time to make it onto aggregators like Google and Yahoo! News. That’s why there’s TweetNews.
This unique search engine was created by a Yahoo! programmer Vik Singh. It relies on Twitter updates for fresh news to compare to stories that have not yet garnered enough links for a high ranking in a traditional algorithm. You can read more about TweetNews on his blog.
For more, check out these Tools, Apps and Bots to Improve Your Twitter Experience and 5 Great Multi-Source News Websites.
How do you get your breaking news? On Twitter or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments.