February 16, 2009

News on Twitter

On January 23, 2008, a 20 year old man forced his way into a child day care center in Dendermonde, a small town in Belgium, Europe. He attacked the staff and the little children in the child day care center with a knife. One staff member and two babies were killed, several other staff members and babies were severly wounded. The agressor managed initially to escape, but he was arrested 90 minutes later.

Very quick the news of this horrible attack found its way to Twitter. As soon as the attack was mentioned on websites of Belgian newspapers, Twitter users picked up the story and expressed their agony in their Twitter messages. Later on the articles on Belgian news sites were also announced on Twitter, in Twitter messages that were automatically created. The news about this horrible attack became also known to news agencies, newspapers, radio and television stations and news aggregators worldwide, who also published it on their Twitter accounts.

Using Twitter Search, I traced the Twitter messages containing the words "Dendermonde" or "Termonde" - the French name for Dendermonde. From October 2008 until the moment of this writing, these words were mentioned in 1450 Twitter messages from 409 different Twitter users. The graph below shows the number of Twitter messages containing the words "Dendermonde" or "Termonde" per hour.


The peak on the graph is the hour after the stabbings were commited. Later smaller peaks occured when new facts about the agressor became public and when the funeral services for the victems were held.

As can be expected, a large part of these Twitter users can be located in Belgium. Belgium is followed by the Netherlands and France, neighbouring countries of Belgium. There were also Twitter users from countries far from Belgium announcing the horrible facts, e.g. Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Portugal and Serbia in Europe, also in the USA and Canada, in Brazil and South Africa, and also in Asia (Malaysia, Philippines).

74% of the Twitter messages containing the words "Dendermonde" or "Termonde" contained a hyperlink to a story on a newssite or a blogpost. The most productive Twitter users turned out to be Twitter users from news agencies, newspapers, radio and television stations and news aggregators. The 409 Twitter users posting messages containing the words "Dendermonde" or "Termonde" have in total over 100,000 followers. As Twitter Search is only capable of finding Twitter messages for public Twitter users, the total number of Twitter users who published messages containing the words "Dendermonde" or "Termonde" will probably exceed 409. The total number of Twitter users who were potentially informed of the horrible facts on January 23, 2009 at Dendermonde will probably exceed 100,000.

This analysis of this event shows that traditional media have discovered their way to Twitter. A large part of the messages published after the dramatic stabbings were indeed automatically published by these Twitter news accounts.

News travels also far and travels fast. Within a couple of hours Twitter users from locations far outside Belgium also twittered the horrible facts.

Currently the storm caused by the horrible facts has faded away. Life in and around Dendermonde has returned to its normal state. Unfortunatly several families will have to live with the tragical loss of life.

2 comments:

Ken Greenberg said...

TSAVO MEDIA LAUNCHES TWITHORITY, DELIVERS AUTHORITY-BASED SEARCH RESULTS FROM TWITTER

Tsavo Tightly Integrates Offering With New Daymix Network

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (March 2, 2009) – Tsavo Media (www.tsavo.com), a new company focused on the delivery and monetization of niche content to digital consumers, today formally introduced Twithority (www.twithority.com), “Twitter Search by – Authority,” a powerful new search engine for the popular microblogging service Twitter.

Twithority returns Twitter search results rapidly, looking back as many as 1,000 results. It sequences results by rank, with highest ranking users first, and time (with most recent tweets first), within the top 10,000 Twitter users. Twitter is a free service that lets users keep in touch with one another through the exchange of quick, 140-character answers to one simple question: what are you doing?
Tsavo will integrate Twithority into its new Daymix network of original, dynamic consumer content sites – www.manolith.com, www.twirlit.com, www.kidglue.com and www.nibbledish.com. Twithority will serve as an informal metric for Tsavo’s content sites, along the lines of Google’s zeitgeist feature.

“Given the enormous number of conversations on Twitter, how do you highlight what is most important, what the authorities and influencers are saying?” said Mike Jones, CEO and founder, Tsavo Media. “That’s where Twithority comes in. We’re filtering results in a meaningful way and working with manageable numbers, so Twitter can be of even greater value. In a broader sense, Twithority reflects Tsavo’s entire approach to content. Throughout all of our properties, we’re looking at ways to get content filtered to deliver the best providers, the best information, the best user experience possible -- quickly and efficiently.”

About Tsavo Media

Tsavo Media (www.tsavo.com) develops highly relevant content experiences for today’s digital consumers, as well as niche content monetization services to publishers. The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif.

Media Contact

Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.
818-990-5001
ken@edgecommunicationsinc.com

Ali Magnano said...

Twitter is one of my new favorite Social Media Sites!

Cool blog, thanks :)

Ali

www.whywebpr.blogspot.com