“There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”
This tweet, which is lingo for an update of the micro-blogging service Twitter, was accompanied by the first picture of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which experienced an emergency landing Thursday after birds rendered both engines of the Airbus 320 useless.
The pilot is a hero for dumping the plane into the Hudson with little incident and saving the lives of all 155 people on the plane.
However, for photojournalists, the Twitter user who posted the first image is also a bit of a hero.
Janis Krums, who can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jkrums, did help load people onto the ferry he was traveling on, so he did do his part in the life-saving efforts, according to National Public Radio.
However, he did this after he thought on his toes, used his cell phone to snap a photo and uploaded it to Twitter via photo hosting site www.twitpic.com with the aforementioned explanation.
So many people wanted to see Krums’ picture that the Twit Pic site crashed.
The incredible response from this bit of spot-journalism validates the use of new media forms in reporting.
It is an on-demand world, and services such as Twitter help disseminate that news even quicker because it mandates brevity by limiting updates to 140 characters, or about three sentences.
As the editor of The Ledger, I use Twitter. I use it for news updates as well as keeping everyone informed in what I’m doing in my personal life, which is referred to as “life casting” because I am basically broadcasting my life to anyone who wishes to read it.
My tweets can be read at www.toddtwitters.com.
Many other newspapers, both big and small, use Twitter to keep their readers and communities informed more fully.
And as I’ve written about before, Dan Thalmann at The Washington County News set up an impressive Twitter project with Washington County High School students attending the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States.
You can check it out at www.backroadsnewsroom.com.
The point is, though, that Twitter has many applications, and it doesn’t have to just be used for newspapers.
The business applications are enormous. Think about it, wouldn’t it be great to update all your Twitter followers of the latest innovation within your company?
Twitter is an easy way to reach people, and by tweeting a link, you can drive traffic to your Web site as well.
It may not be for everyone; however, if you try it, don’t give up on it right away. Give it time and make sure it is of no use because you might be surprised the applications you find for it, even if it is just quickly sharing photos and information with relatives on the other side of the country.