May 3, 2007

News feeds on Twitter

Several news providers have discovered Twitter as a channel to distribute news alerts. As messages in Twitter are restricted to 140 characters, news alerts in Twitter can only consist of a headline (sometimes truncated) and a URL of the article where the full text can be read. Twitter is an additional channel where news alerts that are already available on other platforms (e.g. website, news ticker, RSS feed, SMS alert, ...) can also be distributed without cost for the subscriber. Several gateways between the existing news alert feeds and Twitter were initially build by persons who were not affiliated with the publishers of the news alerts. Even now it is not always clear if the news alerts on Twitter are officially endorsed by the original publishers.

The BBC was one of the first broadcast companies to publish news feeds around different subjects in Twitter. Currently there are at least 26 different Twitter feeds. Several of these Twitter feeds from the BBC appear in the top 100 lists of Twitterholic (based on the number of friends, based on the number of followers and the number of updates). The BBC Twitter feeds were initially implemented by Mario Menti. From time to time new BBC news feeds are announced at Mario Menti's blog.

CNN also publishes news alerts on Twitter on three Twitter accounts.

The New York Times has a wide offer of Twitter feeds for different topics.

Digg, a site where users can suggest, share and discuss stories, has also several feeds on Twitter.

Finally I have collected a few other feeds from various news sources, from the UK and the USA.

Twitter is currently an open system, revealing exactly how many persons are subscribed to Twitter feeds. This allows to get a clear view on the usage of the various news feeds on Twitter. The average number of followers of all news feeds mentioned above is 124. Although this number may seem impressive, I think it is rather low compared to the number of subscribers to the various RSS feeds of the news sites.

If someone would subscribe to all news feeds listed in this blog post, this person would receive on average 1885 messages a day or 79 messages each hour. If this person would receive these messages on his mobile phone, his phone would be beeping all the time. If someone would like to try this, please share your experiences.


Anonymous said...

I personally don't like RSS headlines being published to a Twitter account. I want (full) feeds in my feedreader, including both a title and body. Twitter is perfect for IM and SMS-style communication, anything over 140 characters just doesn't work (at least for me).

Anonymous said...

We're experimenting with Twitter news feed ( )for updates of finance stocks. It's seems to be working well so far - but I'm not sure about tracking it via SMS.

Anonymous said...

If you want to follow in your Twitter account whatever blog (news, alerts, RSS/ATOM feed...) you can use Feedinshort, a new service created that works like a charm. Take a look in

The original tweet I received: LAUNCHED Feedinshort: Getting your feeds in Twitter. Subscribe to RSS/ATOM and read them in Twitter #feedinshort

Siju said...

Great , but I don't want to subscribe to all the news feeds available. :) My twitter account may flood with it.

Anonymous said...

An alternative is going to @WAJournal which tweets headlines from several news agencies twice a day.

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