Michelle Malkin launches TWITCHY

by Felicia Cravens, Contributor, U.S. Daily Review

Last week Michelle Malkin released her latest endeavor in the online information community – Twitchy.  From the press announcement:

 Leading new media entrepreneur Michelle Malkin today announced the launch of TWITCHY.COM, a ground-breaking entrant in the Twitter curation/aggregation space. The founder of powerhouse blogs MichelleMalkin.com (established 2004) and HotAir.com (established 2006 and sold to Salem Communications in 2010) has recruited a savvy team of editors from across the country to staff the new must-read website.

I’ve written in this space about the uses for Twitter as a news source and communication tool.  Malkin and the Twitchy team have taken the next step and claimed the Twitter News territory as their own, getting miles ahead of traditional media outlets.  Here’s how the site works.

Landing on the home page, a user finds:

  • Category tabs – Sports, U.S. Politics, Entertainment and so on
  • A scrollable “hot story” feature based on the latest stories
  • Lead Story
  • “Fresh off the Twire” (it’s practically a Twitter law to have names of applications and programs utilize the TW in Twitter where possible.)

Clicking on any story will allow users to quickly:

  • See the essence of the story
  • Read what’s being said about it around the internet
  • Add a comment on it.
But how is Twitchy different from a newspaper or traditional media outlet site?

Twitchy has brains – The release continues: “TWITCHY.COM cuts through the noise and sifts through massive amounts of data to keep both casual news consumers and consummate newshounds up to speed.”  Instead of a simple programmed search engine, Malkin has recruited a staff of news curators to sift news-worthy items and pull more diverse sources of material together.  The resulting stories work for both an audience of headline-scanners and full-story readers.  Using excerpts, links, images of tweets and new copy, the Twitchy staff releases developing stories around the clock, updating them as new information becomes available.

And users are responding to the new model: Adam Henry, one of the news editors at Twitchy reports traffic of around 90,000 views a day since the launch.  Additionally, The Drudge Report, a major news source for many people,  has already linked to a Twitchy piece, helping to bolster the site’s credibility with a new audience.

Twitchy moves quickly –  Henry added: “Twitchy hopes to create an atmosphere that readers come to first to learn the latest on what is happening over the web before it hits the mainstream media.”  That’s not just a wish for branding, it’s the intention to BE first – read about the Joseph Kony story timeline and note the response times of the various outlets.  Twitchy beat everyone to the punch.  While “fast” may not matter much to a casual news-scanner, it’s essential to so many people – candidates, bloggers, news writers and even people just looking for some breaking cocktail-hour conversation.

Twitchy collates reaction – Twitchy doesn’t just tell what’s happening, it also brings immediate feedback.  By scouring the internet and Twitter feeds, Twitchy can not only tell the details of the story, but also aggregates the effect the story has.  If a politician floats a lead balloon policy idea, or a company’s new ad campaign flops, they’ll know it quickly; but Twitchy will also give them quick access to WHY.  Rather than having to search dozens of sites, Twitchy can bring immediate and ongoing reaction together in one place.

My verdict?  I’m a huge fan of Twitchy already.  It’s easy, it’s savvy, and you don’t have to know anything about Twitter to use it, so it’s perfect for social media beginners.

I currently use Twitter for much of my news and information; Twitchy converts all that information into concise, digestible pieces, saving me a lot of time.  I can get caught up quickly on anything that catches my eye, and drill down using the links if I need more detail.  I can sign up for newsletters,  follow on Twitter or Facebook, subscribe to an RSS feed, or even send a news tip to Twitchy.  This is the news of the future, and the mainstream media had better be paying attention; New Media like Twitchy is making them less relevant every day.

Felicia Cravens walked away from her accounting degree over a decade ago to become a stay-at-home mom.  Since then, she has filled her “spare time” teaching drama in an after-school program and working in conservative politics.  She founded the Houston Tea Party Society in 2009, serves as a frequent media contact, and trains and equips people new to the political process, on topics such as Convention 101 and Twitter Basics.  She also serves as Vice-President of the organization that planned January’s Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll.  Her passion for social, media in politics has led her to launch Dialect Social Media this spring, a consulting firm for candidates, and she can be found on Facebook and Google+, and on Twitter as @somethingfishie and at LinkedIn.  She is a contributor at The Texas Conservative as well as a blogger in her own right at Something Fishie.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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