Plane Crash-lands Into Hudson – Twitter First, Again

15 Jan

This afternoon a plane crashed into the Hudson.  In itself a pretty extraordinary event.  What was especially extraordinary to me was that the story broke on Twitter.  No grey area, no arguments:  the first reports of this event were on Twitter. I was at home when it happened, with CNN on in the background.  Folks tweeted about it a good 10 minutes before it appeared on CNN, and a good 20 minutes before it appeared on online news channels.  Somebody posted a picture of the plane in the water mere minutes after the crash:

Absolutely extraordinary.

I did a quick straw poll (admittedly on Twitter, so somewhat skewed), that said that 40% of folks who heard about the crash heard about it on Twitter.  Think about that for a second, that’s absolutely nuts.  Before radio, before tv, before any other news source:  Twitter broke the news.  You and I, and others on Twitter…. beat the major, international news orgs to the news.

I think we’ll see more and more of this moving forward.  Normal folks like you and I breaking the news, citizen journalists.  Interesting to watch, and interesting to see how the news networks react to it.


12 Responses to “Plane Crash-lands Into Hudson – Twitter First, Again”

  1. Marc Sirkn January 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    OK.. I like Twitter as much as the next early adopter, slightly nerdy insider baseballer but 40%?

    I’d bet 99% of the world (95% of New Yorkers) probably hasn’t even heard of Twitter.

    Yes, we’ll see more and more of this sort of thing, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the kool aid.

    BTW, yes, I heard about it first on Twitter (doh)!

  2. Rachel Kay January 15, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    I found out about it first on Twitter – I find that Twitter provides me with the fastest possible news I can get. I actually read fewer news sources now – I use them more for back up or fact check.

  3. Ryan Drake-Stoker January 15, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    Not being one of the Twitterati, I first saw it on an online news site (Aunty Beeb wouldn’t you know) and I was the first in the the office to notice, so that is 25 non twitter votes :-).

    However, IIRC the Mumbai attacks first broke on Twitter too.

  4. Cliff January 16, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    People broken the news, they spoke about it on twitter. People who work in the news Twittered about it. Nice article Kai – some very interesting points, but I disagree that Twitter beat any news source.

  5. kaimac January 16, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    Marc – agree that the majority of folks haven’t heard of it. was just interesting to me that I heard about the crash, despite having CNN on and being just a few blocks away from it, on Twitter first.

    Rachel – same here, tho i use twitter as the early alert system, if you like. Then I use the Web or TV to further research/back up.

    Ryan – twitterati! haha 🙂

    Cliff – I had CNN on, and absolutely definitely heard about it on Twitter first. no question.

  6. Cliff January 16, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    I don’t doubt it Kai. But some news sources must have been first. Also, it depends how many people you follow. Either way, people in the newsroom here are talking about how significant the role twitter played was. All the best.

  7. Siobhan January 16, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    We heard about it on Twitter first too here in Northumberland UK.
    More people than you think HAVE heard of Twitter.

  8. kaimac January 16, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    Hi Cliff – not saying one is better than the other, particularly, just really interested in how news spreads on there. Another thing I noticed yesterday was how quickly it died down on Twitter. The majority of tweets I saw were about the crash for the first couple of hours, then just as quickly (when CNN was still dragging it out), it died down. Really interesting phenomenon.

    Hi Mum – I LOVE that you’re getting your news from Twitter. That’s awesome! Did you see lance posted pictures of his new bike the other day? Training down under! xx

  9. coffee January 16, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, sounds like the pilot did a great job

  10. kaimac February 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Ewing – sorry, missed this in spam comments. Are we still really banging on about those ‘it didn’t happen’ theories?


  11. RaiulBaztepo March 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


  1. Prosumidores - O papel activo dos consumidores do século XXI | Creative Blink - February 5, 2009

    […] um colunista ou até um crítico de arte. Quando o avião da U.S. Airways aterrou no rio Hudson, a primeira “reportagem” foi feita por uma Nova Iorquina que se encontrava num ferry e, assistiu …. Depressa fotografou o acontecimento, tendo-o propagado através da sua conta no Twitter. O mesmo […]

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