Many people around the world blessed, or cursed (as the case may be) enough to be using Twitter were able to find out the results of the World Cup draw today far earlier than the folks camped in front of their television sets. Twitter and other social media sites were full of rumours that England had been bounced early and that Qatar and Russia would be the lucky hosts far before the results were revealed on television.
Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl Tweeted ‘Qatari delegation members getting handshakes & some hugs from FIFA voters. Hmmmmm….’ a half hour before results were released and Al Jazeera reported Qatar’s victory a full hour before the official announcement.
The immediacy of Twitter has turned traditional news coverage on its head. The suspense of events like the NFL Draft have been eliminated. Draft selections are always Tweeted far before they’re revealed on TV broadcasts. And of course, Twitter was abuzz this summer with ‘reports’ that LeBron James had signed here, or there, and everywhere.
Early Tweeting can be dangerous, too. Multiple media outlets reported that former New Jersey Devils coach Pat Burns had passed away two months before he actually did, causing Burns to react angrily at the time, saying, “I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I’m dead. I’m not dead, far f****** from it. They’ve had me dead since June.”
The World Cup location is supposed to be top secret, and though there aren’t necessarily real consequences for early leaks, this is an unmistakable trend in news reporting that sometimes has unfortunate results.
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