Being first on stories emerging from Twitter

Flight 1549 Crash
Image by Aphony via Flickr

I have been looking into the possibility to monitor Twitter through codewords. Setting up a list of codewords which would be monitored 24/7. Example: Fire, Robbery and so on. The obvious problem with this is that you need to know what to look for and even then you can be far off. If you for example setup some codewords like “plan” and “crash” you wouldn’t get any hits on a story like this:
– Landing on Hudson river with a Boeing 737!

What hit me the other day is that this might be the wrong way around it. Most newspapers today have some type of SMS/MMS channel into the newspaper. Daily you promote your SMS number. Some newspapers do a good job in this, other hide contact information in obscure places.

But you could also promote a hashtag (ex. #2200, #71000). So a person who wants to inform or get in touch with you will add this hashtag to the message.
– Landing on Hudson river with a Boeing 737 #2200!

You can’t own a hashtag. But a number combination or a company name like #endi (El Nuevo Dia), #2200 (VG) or #71000 (Aftonbladet) is so unique you will probably not get to much irrelevant tweets. The hashtag is easy for competitors to monitor! But focusing on that is missing the point.

The hashtag approach in connection with loads of following/followers and maybe a 24/7 codeword monitor will get you the stories real quick.