Meet the new mainstream media: YouTube and Twitter

Last night, while the whole world wasn't watching, the Internet replaced cable news. It's been a long time coming

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Last night, three of Twitter's top 10 trending topics were about the filibuster. At its height, the hashtag #standwithwendy was being retweeted nearly 5,000 times per minute. Texas Tribune, a nonprofit nonpartisan public media organization most of us had never heard of, went from a couple thousand followers to more than 50,000. What were the 24/7 cable shows doing?

Meet the new mainstream media: YouTube and Twitter

And this:

Meet the new mainstream media: YouTube and Twitter

And this:

Meet the new mainstream media: YouTube and Twitter

You don't get more real-life, real-time drama than a room full of alleged adults descending into chaos, with protestors shouting and state troopers funneling in to quell a potential riot. This is what the cable news guys would have called great TV. In fact, it was great TV -- it just didn't happen on TV. And increasingly, it won't.

TV, it was nice knowing you

Twitter and TV have had a great synergy, to use a word I loathe. People watch a sporting event or a presidential debate or "American Idol," and they tweet about it to and with each other. It's why folks like NBC partnered with Twitter for last summer's Olympic broadcasts; it's why the sports talk shows have a constant Twitter feed running alongside the mindless jabbering of pudgy ex-jocks.

But guess what? Twitter doesn't need TV any more. Neither do the rest of us. Can't say I'll miss it much.

What do you think -- can YouTube and Twitter replace cable news? Weigh in below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Meet the new mainstream media: YouTube and Twitter," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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