This past weekend, NFL Sunday to be specific, I was the victim of a TV/internet outage due to a mistake made by a technician while they did some work at the junction box shared by my next-door neighbor and I. As a result, I was unable to watch my beloved Washington NFL franchise hobble to another almost-loss so I had to find another way to keep tabs on the game. Since my internet service was also down, that left me with my BlackBerry Tour as my sole means of connectivity.
I initially started off on the ESPN site, trying to keep track of the action. Finding this unsatisfactory, I switched to MSNBC with the auto-refresh set to 30 seconds. I quickly realized that the information I was getting was woefully behind and quite inadequate. Then I had a different idea.
I went to search.twitter.com, set up a search on the hashtag relevant to the team and, behold, a stream of commentary from everyone ranging from Washington Post sports reporters to people in the stands at FedEx field to people watching on TV at home began to come my way. As fast as I could refresh the page, I knew what play had just been run, what players were involved, what the result of the play was and what the reaction was on the sidelines and in the stands.
I can’t say it was like being there or watching it on TV but it was definitely on par with listening to the radio broadcast of the game. As far as I am concerned, Twitter mopped up the floor with the mainstream media and their poor web extensions. Through Twitter, I got a sense of the ebb and flow of the game and I actually was as excited as when listening on the radio.
Much has been made of Twitter’s near-real-time search capability. I have used search columns in Tweetdeck to keep tabs on conferences and the like but this experience leads me to believe that a fundamental shift may be near. In my opinion, this not only puts traditional media outlets on notice but also social media outlets that are really only slightly more real-time than blogging (I’m looking at you Facebook).
The ultimate kicker for me? Although I have a Twitter account, it is not needed to use Twitter search. Anyone can do this without an account….for free….without ads. Still wondering what Twitter is all about?