Who’s Following Twitter? Coverage of the Microblogging Phenomenon by U.S. Cable News Networks

Deborah S. Chung, Mina Tsay-Vogel, Yung Soo Kim


Through data captured in a digital content analysis (DCA) lab, we examine coverage of Twitter across three 24-hour U.S. cable news channels: CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. This investigation tracked Twitter coverage from its initial stage, followed by its rise to a massively used tool and its subsequent diffusion into society, evident through its plateauing coverage. News stories covering Twitter, as it penetrated into society, were more likely to use benefit/gain frames when discussing the technology, highlighting its positive social, communicative, political, and participatory impact. Benefit frames were also likely to associate Twitter with journalism. Patterns emerging through the indicator graphs plotted by the DCA lab showed that the most intense coverage occurred during crisis situations, as Twitter coverage reached saturation, followed by increased personal daily usage of Twitter.


Twitter, microblogging, cable news, diffusion, source, framing, participatory journalism

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