Scooped by Twitter


The Washington Post describes how social media have become "regular parts of the news ecology, serving as an early alert system":

Quoting the Post: "Within minutes, there were photos, including an astonishing one of a man clad in shorts, carrying a rifle and stalking through what looked like an office courtyard."

The news of a gunman at the Discovery Channel's headquarters in Silver Spring indeed traveled fast on Wednesday, but none of it came through radio, TV or newspaper Web sites, at least not at first. As it has with other breaking news events—the landing of a jet on the Hudson River in 2009, the 2008 massacre in Mumbai—the story unfolded first in hiccupping fits and starts on Twitter, the much-hyped micro-blogging service that has turned millions of people into worldwide gossips, opinion-mongers and amateur news reporters.

Before camera crews and reporters could race to the scene, a shot of alleged hostage-taker James Lee was flashing around the world via Twitpic, Twitter's photo-sharing service that lets people see whatever a cellphone camera captures seconds after the shutter snaps. The shot—full of menace and dread—was apparently taken by an office worker peering from a window several floors above the Discovery courtyard. The photo was apparently passed from an unidentified Discovery employee to another, who posted it on Twitpic.

Another dramatic photo, of Montgomery County SWAT team members clinging to the sides of an armored vehicle as it rushed to the scene, soon followed, along with another, taken from the TV One building across the street, of emergency responders unloading a bomb-detecting robot on a street in Silver Spring.

The whole article is worth reading. Via Jim Harper.


NEXT: Tripping Over Robo-Tripping

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  1. posted it on Twitpic.

    They really call it that.

  2. Is it me, or does it seem that people talk about Twitter without ever thinking about what the word twit means?

    1. Shhhh! That could lead to a quantum breach cause a critical irony cascade!

      1. You’re right. I’ll keep that knowledge under wraps.

        1. Good idea. I mean, as you can see, even the mere idea of that caused a momentary breakdown in the space-grammar continuum.

      2. Anyway, I’m guessing (’cause I don’t tweet like a twit) that for every one compelling photo uploaded to the Twitpic server, there are at least one million shots of drunks, hoes, traffic, pizza, and underage girls in a bathroom, taken by themselves at arm’s length. Again, this is just a guess.

        1. Filtering such chaff for useful information is an economic opportunity.

          1. It helps to know the right twits.

    2. “Twit” is derived from “Twitter,” not the other way around.

      A condition of tremulous excitement (from eager desire, fear, etc.); a state of agitation; a flutter, a tremble. 1678.

      A fool; a stupid or ineffectual person. slang. 1934.

      Although the transitive verb of “Twitter” is pretty good (but rare):

      to twiddle (the fingers)

      THACKERAY, 1855.

      1. You twit.

        1. It’s not my fault you got pwn’d by the OED.

          1. Given that the term twit is far more common TODAY, I refute you and again label you as a twit.

    3. Teenage Women In their Thirties?

  3. Someone forwarded me a yahoo news link yesterday and the article had a picture of police rolling out a DO NOT CROSS tape.

    The first thing I thought of when I saw it was “Hey, that’s the patio for the Austin Grill. Good margaritas.”

    1. Of course you didn’t think of the hostages, you soulless animal. Didn’t you realize a SWAT team was going to be near them? I mean, the only thing more dangerous than that is being a dog in the same situation.

      1. Well, I noticed that they taped off the patio just after the bar. I suspect that the AG manager came in to find his inventory a few bottles short this morning.

  4. Funny how the only way network news can remain relelvant is to let their viewers do all the news.

    1. CNN makes a big thing about their “I-reporters” also. They also spend a bit of time reading off their facebook posts from viewers.

      1. CNN peaked when they showed the special effects of modern war as we bombed Baghdad and had a guy named Wolf Blitzer talking about the war. Wolf Blitzer! You knew he had to be a crazed, near Nazi, who loved war and craved more.

        How wrong we were.

        1. And don’t forget the holographic reporter.

          1. Sorry, post-peak. But I do recall the guy who kept putting on and taking off his gas mask, as Scuds were coming/not coming. The media wanted us to think he was attractive for some totally inexplicable and probably gay reason.

            Headline News peaked when they got rid of that ex-cop chick (Lynn somebody) who read the news for what seemed like 20 hours a day. Just summaries of the day’s news–no Nancy Grace, no bullshit.

            1. I watch headline news for about ten minutes at 4:30 in the morning while I’m getting ready. This is because of two chicks that are on there: Robin Meade and Jennifer Westhoven. Plus I want to find out if a nuke went off somewhere while I was asleep.

        2. CNN peaked when they showed the special effects of modern war as we bombed Baghdad and had a guy named Wolf Blitzer talking about the war.

          Recently when Obama went on vacation, Blitzer was attempting to preempt any criticism by talking about how the Pres would still be getting reports about Iran and the like, and how stressed he was.

          If it was a WH PR flack, I could have understood. But this asshole is allegedly a journalist.

          1. Nazi name, Nazi beard, and he turned out to be a wimpy shill. Disappointed! I hate Nazis, but a Nazi reporter seemed like a really crazy, fun twist.

      2. Sundry cable-news personalities like MSNBC’s Ed Schultz exhort their viewers to participate in pointless “text surveys,” wherein fans of the show parrot the host’s biased observations, cynically “proving” and reinforcing his righteousness to his mindless fans. It’s a grand charade, a circle jerk.

  5. …posted it on Twitpic…

    If teens “sext” each other, is it Twatpic? Twitdic?

    See, this is the kind of crap I think about when I haven’t had my Valium.

    1. They denied you your Robitussin!

      1. Yeah, I haven’t had my codeine, either.

        For about 7 years. Bastards.

    2. It’s hard to make a cell phone self portrait. It’s probably all TaintPics.

      1. I’ll have to let the Urkobold? know.

    1. I’m fine with Paris Hilton snorting coke and smoking weed. What I’m NOT fine with is that these two substances are illegal. There’s simply no reason for it.

      1. Waxed or bushy. The piebald pussy look is what I’m not fine with. She looks like her cooter has mange.

        1. Um… you’re looking at a different picture than the one damn! linked to, right? Because otherwise, I really need glasses.

          1. There is a new no-underwear shot going around.


            1. Thanks. I’m gonna puke now.

            2. Ah, thanks. I don’t think it’s mange, I think she shaves, but hadn’t for a week or so.

  6. I started a website recently and purchased 10,000 Twitter followers from for our Twitter page and the results were amazing! We passed all our competitors when it comes to the number of Twitter followers… some competitors have been in business since 1999, but now we have 30 times more followers than them on Twitter, which made it seem that We’ve been in business much longer than them !

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