Twitter is now pretty much established as the place where news can break most quickly — when news happens it’s becoming more and more likely a Twitterer will be somewhere nearby, or be one of the first to hear it.
But unless it’s huge World news whether you hear it quickly (or at all) is dependant on who you’re following. If you’re not following the “newsmaker” then you’ll wait until someone you do follow mentions it, or until a blog or even a newspaper picks it up (queue the “Twitter is fast at news” news story). There have been some attempts to use search or trends to help the process along, so you can follow one Twitter account that will notify you when a story reaches a critical mass — thing is for the more niche story that may never happen. Which is where the idea behind onBirmingham comes in.
The onBirmingham Twitter account retweets (with attribution) direct messages sent to it — from people that the account is following. Like this:
It rests on building up a network of “newsmakers” around Birmingham, who have a nose for news and an itchy Twitter finger. onBirmingham will only follow those it trusts, and if they use the service to spam, then they’ll be unfollowed — it’s as simple as that.
So follow onBirmingham to get the news, and if you’d like to help make the news send the account an @ message and it’ll follow you back. And we’ll see how well it works.