As a news source, however, it (and the Internet in general) has a long way to go. Tonight is a case in point. News of Sec. Jesse Robredo's plane crashing into waters off Masbate spread quickly on Twitter. So did false reports that he had been rescued. Traditional media outlets were quick to deny such reports, but on Twitter, even more than in real life, rumors reach the other side of the world before the truth gets a chance to put its pants on.
Twitsperts have been navel-gazing quite a lot online lately, lauding the Internet's capacity to allow news to travel at a blinding rate. But tonight's incident should dissuade the "certified bloggers" of the world from getting together for another circlejerk. Twitter spread the news of the Robredo plane crash quickly, but it also blurred a lot of the details of the story. And it happened in part because people were all too willing to retweet without checking for accuracy, all for the sake of being a social media influencer, a person with online clout, or whatever the hell we call pretentious Internet users nowadays. That's thoroughly counterproductive for a tool we routinely refer to as the future of journalism.
So, haughty Twitter users, before you pat each other on the back for your show of love and concern for Robredo's family and scold other people for tweeting about things not related to the plane crash, please know: you're nowhere near as awesome as you think you are.