Daily Video

July 23, 2009

Twitter Takeover

According to the Neilsen Company, Twitter is the fastest-growing Web brand having grown 1400 percent in the past year. The three-year-old social networking site is used by everyone from teenagers to political figures.

News organizations have also begun to take Twitter seriously, with the Web site playing a huge role in gathering information on major news events like the recent protests in Iran or the death of pop star Michael Jackson.

In this video, NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown takes a closer look at the communications phenomenon.


[Twitter is] a very meaningful way to communicate news, to do news-gathering, to interact with our audience, to communicate with them about what we’re doing. It’s a piece of the puzzle. The downsides of, like, information needing to be authenticated, vetted, that’s never changed with any of our news. So that doesn’t scare at least me in any way. – Alex Wellen, CNN deputy political director of digital content

“You’re not going to have a policy discussion with only 140 characters. What you’re doing is promoting and provoking thought about policy issues that maybe other people wouldn’t think about. And you’re trying to get responses from people accordingly. And just getting people to think about public policy is very, very important.” Senator Charles Grassley, Rep – Iowa

“I think you often say more by saying less. And interestingly enough, I mean, Jesus really set the standard. I mean, he could say more with fewer words than anybody. Most of the parables were less than 250 words. And, boy, did he have some one-liners just packed with truth.” – Pastor Mark Batterson

Warm Up Questions

1. What types of social networking Web sites do you use? Name as many as you can.

2. What is Twitter?

Discussion Questions

1. Do you use Twitter? Why or why not? What do you like or dislike about it?

2. Many public figures use Twitter – from politicians like Sarah Palin to celebrities like Ashton Kutcher. Does that make you feel more engaged in their lives? Why or why not?

3. What does Twitter say about how we communicate in an age of the internet? What do we gain or lose by communicating in so few words?

4. See if you can find interesting Tweets on Twitter.com covering major news events. What are your impressions of them?

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