Posted on September 20, 2013 in Archive

“Hyperlocal gone global”: How Breaking Tweets made it big time

20Sep

Craig Kanalley – he’s using Twitter right. He even used it to get himself a pretty good job.

He started out as a journalism graduate from Chicago. Today at 27 years old, he is a senior editor at the Huffington Post.

In early 2009, Kanalley launched Breaking Tweets (which is not a Twitter devoted to the AMC television show Breaking Bad, I found out the hard way), a Twitter account that posts about current affairs as they are happening.

Inspired by the power of live tweeting at events such as the Presidential inauguration, the tweets initially linked to posts about news such as the earthquakes in Japan and the Iraqi elections, and quickly gained notice from journalists and supporters all over the world, looking to contribute.

Kanalley and his team were so quick to break news on Twitter that some journalists mistook them for actually being at the scene as it happened and requested interviews.

Google then got in on the action by including them in Google News and general search results. This led to several separate vertical accounts within the Breaking Tweets Network – Breaking Tweets Entertainment, Breaking Tweets Sports and even Breaking Tweets Chicago.

Finally, Breaking Tweets received such recognition that it formed the basis of a Twitter-related “Digital Editing” class at DePaul University, Kanalley’s alma mater. Happily, to bring about an end to this tale (though Breaking Tweets marches on), in late 2009 Kanalley was offered a full-time job with the Huffington Post, working as the Traffic and Trends Editor.

Kanalley’s meteoric rise in just one year really shows the potential that the Internet holds for people willing to put in the hard work. Publishing news and opinions while building an online presence really is as easy as signing up for a Twitter account.

But while anyone can sign up for Twitter and aggregate news to their heart’s content, Kanalley is such a great standard because he made an effort to sort through the good from the bad by conscientiously verifying his sources, and he allowed followers to get up close to the event through eyewitness tweeting.

Ordinarily, becoming a senior editor at a site like the Huffington Post would take years of working your way up through the ladder, but it seems as though talent, rather than tenure, is being recognised more and more in the digital publishing industry.

In an industry that has been dubbed by many in recent years as “dying”, it’s heartening to see that it’s simply changing swiftly, rather than decaying slowly.

So readers, the lesson of this blog is – ensure that quality wins over quantity of content. With more and more being published everyday, content is still king, but curation is its crown.