If you're wondering why I've focused on Twitter lately, read "Newspapers that Twitter" at graphicdesignr.
Twitter is a short-comment social network (micro-blogging). It's most similar to the BBS boards in the 80s. However, each "Tweet" is limited to 140 characters and can accept input via the Web or mobile devices (phones).
To conform to the size limitation, it automatically converts feeds into Tiny URLs.
Speed is the key to Twitter's success. Unlike a regular blog, links are created automatically by hitting the "follow" button under a Twitter's icon. The icon is automatically added to the sidebar and the RSS feed flows into the stream. Likewise, "followers" (backlinks) are automatically generated on a sidebar link.
It's quick and easy to follow, stop following or know who's following any feed.
Feedback limitations to what's important is its main advantage. Reader-generated diatribes tend to be more than 140 characters and aren't needed during emergencies.
Graphicdesignr points out some interesting stats. Papers only using TwitterFeed aren't doing great. Those with a combination of feed and live (Web) updates are doing very well.
While CNN is killin' it, the highest achievers use it as one-time, organic news capsules. They can give and get emergency information quickly about a specific event. This is particularly important during power outages, but requires functional cell towers.
Here's how the Chicago Tribune used it during Hurricane Gustav: @gustavreporter.
I've grabbed @emergencynews. I found a work-around by using search.twitter.com. Anyone with news or information about public emergencies could post replies (start tweet with "@emergencynews") for media outlets to follow.
This makes it function for organic news and emergency information. Each commenter controls their own tweets without someone else deleting them.
I'll save y'all some time because @breakingnews and @newsalert(s) are already taken as well.
My main Twitter feed (all the boring daily stuff I do) is @newseagles for those who might want to follow the duckling feeding schedule, my publications/assignments and blog posts. The Twitter search engine doesn't currently search profiles for some inexplicable reason, so it's difficult to find. It's also linked on the sidebar.
If you want to learn more about social networks and ambient awareness, please read "Brave New World of Digital Intimacy" by Clive Thompson of The New York Times magazine.
Enough for now,