This may sound obvious for some, but I am still surprised by how many people have underlooked or forgotten a major feature in Twitter, the Twitter search engine. Twitter search is also built into many clients and the search engine has become an invaluable tool for sharing instant news. The great thing is you don’t even need a Twitter account to benefit from social news.
Picture this, people will start talking about something that has just happened and never think to check Twitter. I have even caught myself doing this, a few months back there was an earthquake in Toronto and my first reaction was to check some local news sites, but of course they had nothing to offer. Aha, Twitter will have what I want, and it did, including links to sites describing the magnitude of the earthquake and images users were uploading moments after the incident. The same happened for a tornado awhile back too, where people were literally taking pictures and filming the twisters and reporting on them moments later using Twitter.
If you live in a major city and something is going on that you want to know about, chances are hundreds if not thousands of people may be tweeting about it. Is your local subway transit line not running, is there a protest on the streets below, a really bad storm or earthquake happening. News like this will hit Twitter before any other source, so next time you want to know why the lights just went off, or what the loud boom outside was, fire up your favourite Twitter app or check the search engine, if a Zombie outbreak is in progress it may even save your life.