Introducing the “real-time” web

Jacob Nahin

Twitter Breaking News

It’s rainy and it’s cold, the perfect time to cuddle up to the blue glow of your monitor to see what’s going on in the world. Sure, you could hit up the Los Angeles Times Web site, watch periodic updates go by as you click the “refresh” button, or you could see it all in real-time.

Real-time, that means what is going on RIGHT NOW, and the best tool for that is Twitter. From Michael Jackson’s death to the Iranian protests, tweeps on Twitter posted the news first.

You’ve probably heard of Twitter, seen it featured on CNN, maybe even used it on your smart-phone for a moment or two to follow Perez Hilton or Ashton Kutcher. But, if you’re part of the majority, you still don’t see the point. It’s just “status updates” like Facebook, right? Wrong.

Using Twitter, you can be the first to hear about the latest news and gossip before it hits the Web page. Whether you’re a journalism student or a business major, Twitter is an essential tool for keeping up-to-date.

If you don’t have an account, go to and sign up for one. Then, follow these folks by clicking the “follow” button on their Twitter homepages:

First, the big guys: CNN (@cnn) and Reuters (@reuters) both use Twitter to send out updates the minute they cross the wire. These are official sources, not rumors, not gossip. For news on L.A., check out L.A.Times (@latimes), L.A.Weekly (@laweekly) and L.A. blog the LAist (@laist). If you’re interested in the unconfirmed, follow @BreakingNews; it’s a Twitter-focused news organization that focuses on global importance.