How Twitter Left Google News Trailing Over Iran

So this is what we think we know – after the Sichuan earthquake and the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the aftermath of the Iranian elections marks the latest coming of age for Twitter.

As a vechicle breaking news and real-time updates the microblogging site has once again shown it can leave the 24-hour news networks in its wake. 

Sure the rolling news channels (notably the late-to-the-story CNN) and the papers do an invaluable job curating and repackaging much of it but the raw material and the original narrative belongs to Twitter.

But what’s really interesting is not the battle between Twitter and the established media but between Twitter and its online rivals. 

Some fascinating number-crunching by Heather Dougherty of Hitwise reveals that one in four people searching for “Iran election” headed to the microblogging service.

The figures are for the week ending 20 June and the data is US-only but the results are significant: this is the first time I can recall Twitter beating Google News in a straight race.


By way of balance it is worth noting, as the graph below shows, that a search for “Iran” sees normal service resumed. Google News is out in front followed by Wikipedia with Twitter back in seventh place. However “Iran” is a more generic, less news-oriented, search term than “Iran election”.

As Dougherty notes, post election:

Twitter has become one of the most popular mediums for distributing information about the protests. Daily visits to (excludes mobile & desktop applications) increased 13% on June 12th as compared to the previous Friday and traffic jumped 23% Wednesday, June 17th from news and photos of the massive rallies taking place in Iran.

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