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The 24-Minute News Cycle

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I woke up early this morning, about 4AM.

Went downstairs, turned on the radio to KQED-FM. They're interviewing Newt Gingrich, talking about the 24-hour news cycle, a major innovation they're adjusting to in DC.

I went upstairs with my coffee, did a few hours work, came downstairs for a break, turned on the radio, exactly the same bit is playing. Gingrich talking about the 24-hour news cycle.

Then I thought back to a moment, on Wednesday, when Twitter was carrying the instant news of Steve Jobs's leave of absence. At the exact same moment, came news of the death of Ricardo Montalban. I should have taken a screen shot, because there were constant tweets from people saying Did you hear about Steve Jobs. Did you hear about Ricardo Montalban.

I thought at the time, forget about the 24-hour news cycle, we have a new concept -- a news cycle measured in minutes. What made me think of it was in the midst of all this I saw a lonely tweet from a company I know announcing a contest for developers. I thought "too bad, no one's going to notice that."

This is what we're all working on -- have been for a couple of years -- how to make sense of news that flashes by at such a rapid rate that it pushes the envelope on human ability to notice things.

We may be lining up to eat at soup kitchens in 2009, but we'll have the fastest news cycle ever to keep us informed.