#followfriday: @BBCBreaking

Take last week’s earthquake off the coast of Indonesia. Like many others, I learned about it on Twitter. Soon, however, there were conflicting messages around about whether or not there was a tsunami alert. As I was debating this with my better half, I said: “No, there is no tsunami alert… because @BBCBreaking says so’.

@BBCBreaking is the channel used by the BBC to release news alerts and update emerging stories. It is not perfect regarding coverage, but it is pretty good regarding accuracy. We desperately need that!

In the morning, I check Twitter before I check the BBC News’ website. What’s more, I am not alone: more and more people are turning to social media for breaking news, because it is a great source of content from all over the world. Everybody can become a source of news, which then spread widely and quickly, as outlined in this infographic (source):

There are even cases of journalists turning to twitter users to develop stories (for instance, Guardian’s look at why Tesco’s profits fell, here).

The problem with citizen journalism is that there is no editorial process. Problems will occur, at the source or in the process of disseminating the message, as I discussed in this post. Institutional sources like the BBC, on the other hand, may be slower than individual users in getting the news out. But they (usually) have procedures in place, and codes of conduct, that improve the quality of the information released.

While there is no number big enough to reflect the value I get from the many individuals I follow on Twitter, I also believe that my timeline is richer because I follow quality information sources like @BBCBreaking. So, this Friday, I recommend that you follow @BBCBreaking, a reliable source of breaking news.

Previous follow friday recommendations (in alphabetical order):
@arjantupan – for a bit of poetry in your life (Mar., 9th 2012)
@ejtennant – Witty and entertaining posts from the creator of #virtualsecretsanta (Dec., 23rd 2011)
@inesvarelasilva – Nutrition and health researcher, supporter of theatrical arts and Zumba fanatic (Jan., 27th 2012)
@liveBarefoot – Redefining bookstores (Oct., 14th 2011)
@markwschaefer – The latest insight into Social Media and what it means for businesses (Jan., 20th 2012)
@mrsoaroundworld – For the hedonist in you (Oct., 21st 2011)
@myographer – Management, pirates and personal branding (Oct., 7th 2011)
@OxfordCityGuide – Helps you make the most of living in Oxford (Sep., 30th 2011)
@PaulFennemore – For a strategic view on the potential and pitfalls of social commerce (Oct., 28th 2011)
@PhD2Published – Academic writing advice and encouragement (Nov., 18th 2011)
@ProfBangNguyen – Links to, and thoughts on, the latest technical developments and its consequences for marketing (Jan., 13th 2012)
@pushingsocial – To help you make the most of your blog (Mar., 2nd 2012)
@qualityhunters – A great example of how to engage with a community on Social Media (Feb., 3rd 2012)
@Sidneyeve – Data and insight on digital popular culture (Apr., 6th 2012)
@TMNinja – for useful tips to improve your productivity (Mar., 30th 2012)
@tomfishburne – for a regular laugh about serious (marketing) matters (Feb., 17th 2012)

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