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140 characters, and more

Highly amusing post on the Portland Mercury blog about Twitter, and its holdouts. Sample (responding to several recent pieces in the Oregonian): “I love articles which amount to a middle-aged person shaking their head in bemusement, making jokes straight out of Zits comic strip, as they look over some young person’s shoulder and glimpse their confusing new lifestyle.”

At 140 characters per tweet, Twitter obviously has its limitations. But as a means for basic linkage, it has unusual advantages. One big one may be its capacity for hot links, which allows bloggers, news media and others to post a lot more than what they had for lunch. Use it right, and you can develop an excellent, rapid-fire news wire through a Twitter account. A lot of people seem to be doing that already.

Examples? For our purposes, there are useful follows – instant updates – from a large collection of Northwest news organizations such as the Seattle Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, KIRO-TV (Seattle), the Yakima Herald Republic, KTVB-TV (Boise), TVW (Washington), the Oregonian (several feeds), the Portland Mercury, KGW-TV (Portland), the Tacoma News Tribune, the Boise Idaho Statesman, Idaho Public Broadcasting, the Idaho Business Review and the Boise Weekly. Even the New York Times – we run through all of those and more. And from quite a few individuals at those organizations (such varied feeds as Rocky Barker at the Idaho Statesman and Jenni Hogan at KIRO-TV. Official feeds from the White House and Supreme Court down through a batch of local governments (even a feed offering regular updates on the amount of the national debt). And various political people, elected (see our recent post on that) and otherwise, and people with al kinds of perspectives, some of them pretty well informed. A whole lot of these posts, of course, come with links offering more information elsewhere.

Sneer if you must. But if you can parse through the options with some care, Twitter actually makes for a pretty good intermediary news source.

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