Is Twitter a social network or a news distribution platform? Jonathan Stray weighs into the debate arguing that Twitter, unlike Facebook, can be one-directional, and not necessarily “social.” You can follow anyone’s tweets without their consent or even acknowledgment. So networks tend to be formed around the value of those tweets, not just your personal relationship with the author.
And, he writes, that filtering effect could be adapted and adopted by journalists:
“To put this in terms of the product I wish I had: when I use your news product, I want to be able to follow the recommended reading of other members of the audience, if they so allow. Also, can I follow a particular reporter? And does your product integrate with the other methods I already use for getting information, so I don’t have to choose?”
The experience he envisions is an interesting one. It seems like a mix of Twitter, Digg and Netflix.com movie recommendations. Instead of following people on Twitter who you expect to say interesting things, this would create ad-hoc networks consisting of people already interested in the same topic or news coverage as you.