The day Twitter kicked CNN’s behind & @ev bought me a whisky

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Yesterday is the day when Twitter thoroughly beat CNN. Badly beat CNN. Embarrassingly beat CNN. And most other USA-based media too.

Over on friendfeed we’ve been talking about this for the past 12 hours. Here’s one thread on CNN’s horrid news judgment.

This second thread is interesting because of the number of interesting news sources linked to by various people. Don’t miss the photos and videos. Great examples of photojournalism.

ReadWriteWeb wrote a good post to CNN.

I’ve been clicking “like” on the best items about Iran that have come through friendfeed. The photo above I found on TwitPic here. Pulitzer Prize winning material.

OK, so last night something else really weird happened.

My friend Luke Kilpatrick (he lives a couple of blocks away from me) invited me down to the Ritz at about 9 p.m. tonight. He met up there with a couple of geeks. While there he introduced me to Philip Kaplan (the guy who started AdBrite and Fucked Company), Scott Raymond, and Rachel Luxemberg, who is a community manager at Adobe.

It was dark, so I couldn’t see who else was there around the fire ring out back.

Anyway, I was pretty passionate about this CNN story, since every hour we had been turning through the channels trying to learn about Iranian news (my wife is Iranian and hadn’t been able to call her relatives in Tehran). So I was telling Luke about how Twitter was totally kicking ass over CNN (CNN, when I kept turning it on, had nothing on and, instead was playing shows like Larry King Live with a couple of guys who build motorcycles).

That’s when I heard a voice say “what are you saying about Twitter?” I looked up and it’s Evan Williams, founder/CEO of Twitter. Oh, hi!

Anyway, I congratulated him on kicking USA’s media’s behind (CNN wasn’t the only one who wasn’t covering the Iranian protests). We talked about a variety of things, including family (he has a kid on the way, his wife was there too) and the future of Twitter.

We talked about why he isn’t going to sell Twitter, but I’ll let him explain that all in a blog post. We talked about Building43, which has gotten a good chunk of traffic, because his competitor, Mark Zuckerberg gave me one of my first interviews there.

He said that Twitter would ship more new features in the next few months than it has in years. Anyway, I talked more about the evening on friendfeed. We ended up as a group up in the Ritz’ bar where Ev graciously bought us all drinks. That’s how I got my whisky.

I do have to admit it was cool seeing @ev on the evening when Twitter kicked CNN’s behind. Welcome to the Twitter News Network.

Oh, this week should be fun. I’m headed to New York to be on a panel with CNN’s Rick Sanchez at Jeff Pulver’s Twitter 140 conference. I’m definitely going to bring this up with Rick (there’s tons of people Twittering about CNN right now, it’s a trending topic on Twitter’s search and there’s even a hashtag titled #cnnfail).

It is there that I found Steve Bennen of the Washington Monthly talking about CNNFail. CNET too wrote about CNNFail.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

80 thoughts on “The day Twitter kicked CNN’s behind & @ev bought me a whisky

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  2. Yeah it beat very badly.. As we know CNN and Ashton Kutcher are racing for 1 million followers on Twitter. … Marin Purgar says Kutcher will beat CNN to the 1 million follower mark.. I agree with that Twitter was totally kicking ass over CNN..
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  6. This is so wrong-headed it makes my head explode. I'm not defending CNN. Or any other cable news station. They've been taken over by giant corporate interests, and historically that has meant that foreign and domestic bureaus have closed, idiotic things are run in the off-hours, and generally making their lineup to pander to the advertising dollar. Sure. I long for the old days of Ted Turner, who actually cared about what he was doing, and risked his butt and his fortune often.
    But Twitter is a mechanism. It has no management, and the only content it has is the crowd. A very interesting experience. Very useful when the police truncheons are coming out, people are being arrested, and they're trying to block the Internet. 140 characters can squeeze through. A CNN camera crew cannot.
    You might talk about the pluses and minuses of the two mediums. But otherwise, this is a simple-minded equation, and the types don't match.

  7. errr..ummm..did you even read the article to which you linked? From the article:

    “Meanwhile the much-ballyhooed Twitter swiftly degraded into pointlessness. By deluging threads like Iranelection with cries of support for the protesters, Americans and Britons rendered the site almost useless as a source of information—something that Iran’s government had tried and failed to do. Even at its best the site gave a partial, one-sided view of events…..”

  8. For the umpteenth time, Tweetypages is not a news source. For these types of things it is a source for observations; many of which have no way of being corroborated. But you go ahead and substitute it for real news and see how intelligent you sound discussing current events at dinner parties.

  9. There seems to be a trend here. CNN basically replaced network news. Twitter is replacing 24/7 CNN & Cable News. The real value is that Twitter is not filtered by corporate titans with an agenda.

  10. Robert,
    How can you leave behind the medium that made your career? Three blog posts in a month?

    Friendfeed might be a great social tool, but it doesn't have the historic context that your blog does.

    But if you are successful then you got to keep doing what works for ya. It is just a little disappointing.

  11. Cool! Too bad Twitter sux so bad that I'm locked out of my account for months with NO CUSTOMER SUPPORT!!!!! So, my old twitter name @freddavis is hacked, and after weeks of NO REPLY FROM ANYONE AT TWITTER I have a new username @FUCKTWTR… follow me there, or get with the future and use FriendFeed ;-)

  12. I would be hard pressed to call any of this “news”. Anyone (outside of the White House and State Dept) who needs real-time info coming from Iran is just doing it for the entertainment value (or is waiting for some database to upload).

    The important info is not live video feeds – we can assume all hell is breaking loose – it is the analysis. What this means for the country, the people, the region, the US, the world. Twitter can't give us that, neither can CNN (though they try). Read the New York Times a day or two after all the tweets and find out what is really going on and what may happen next.

    Sorry @ev

  13. Robert,

    Today you made an ass of yourself again.

    CNN does a great job. Twitter is just a place for whack-offs like you to post whatever you like, true or not — mostly not.

    Ok, once you told the truth. You told your bosses at Microsoft they were a money grubbing bunch of dumb asses.

    Next day you were out of work.

    You keep re-invented the scobelizer — next job cycle, leave out the 'ass' part.



  14. Yesterday is the day when Twitter thoroughly beat CNN. Badly beat CNN. Embarrassingly beat CNN. And most other USA-based media too. – twitter rulezz :D

  15. How representative of the populace of Iran is the gorup that “reported” via twitter. Relying on what is said on twitter ignores the people that don't have access or use twitter. It isn't just a matter of what is happening within the twitter using community, but what is happening overall.

  16. Prokofy, this is a good point “But now, they have to bump up from 24/7 to 1440/24″ but this is just not possible for newsmedia. So, they can assimilate 'others' bits of the 1440 and provide a trusted source, once the facts are checked.

  17. There's a number of things to think about the WHY and back story of this that we must probe:

    1. What did Christian Amanpour do? She is very hard left on quite a few issues, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel. Did she decide to drift along with the regime on this one because she thought they'd win, and didn't want to piss them off so she could keep access? Where was she? When a reporter clamours to the desk, “Send me, send me” they get into the picture. Where was she?

    2. What did the Iranian regime do? Did they tie up anybody's arrival by denying a visa? Did they send warnings or turn of sat lines? Did CNN not want to discuss these problems so as to keep their access long-term? (That's how CNN and ABC had to play in Iraq, when they would cooperate with the Saddam regime to keep access. Access long-term is much more worth it to an expensive news operation than proving to Robert Scoble that they can outtweet Twitter.)

    3. Are they out of cash? These operations as I said are expensive. Very expensive! The media is reeling from the recession and firing staff all over. Did they just not have the cash?

    4. Was there a more compelling story? hard to imagine, but it happens, where somebody jumps one way between two stories on an assignment desk and they prove wrong later.

    At the end of the day, I think there's another phenomenon. All the news media that gradually went over to a 24/7 schedule got into a rhythm of trying to beat that schedule, and position at prime time in various world capitals.

    But now, they have to bump up from 24/7 to 1440/24, 1440 minutes out of every 24 hours, which is a lot of news copy. The entire thing just accelerated again in terms of people's expectations.

    It used to be you could follow a story over 3 weeks time as it floated from Europe to the U.S. — the U.S. is a provincial backwater when it comes to picking up world news and always has been for hundreds of years.

    Then it began to be a week, that you could see some world story finally make its way here. Now it's 24 hours. It's the normal lag that anyone sees on a foreign news story daily if they read and write news all day as I do.

    All that happened is that the twittering public got a window into that lag. It didn't just appear yesterday.

    Take two stories up right now — Somali mosque blast, China and Russia pressure NK. All on european news now, BBC, etc. They are nowhere near the NYT yet, which is still on Iran mourning, which BBC already finished with and went on to the next thing. We'll see these two stories either not at all or in a day or two's time on That' show it always is, and if you read world news all day, you find that reading the NYT feels like Groundhog day, over and over again.

    I hate to point out the obvious, but the fact that world capitals are 7 or 9 or 12 hours ahead of New York City and Los Angeles is one of the factors in the lag even in the 24/7 news room.

  18. You don't need to trash CNN like ganking a newb to make the case for Twitter, Robert.

    You can have both.

    A lot of raw feed for 24 hours from Iranian tweeters, quite a few who were exposed as police informants or disinformation agents the next day, is not my idea of news. You need lots and lots of news sources for events like these.

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