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ABC's Nightline Signals the Twitterization of TV News

In quite a sign that it's come a long way since starting as a nightly program devoted to the hostage crisis in Iran, ABC's "Nightline" is launching a Twitter-based online news show on Wednesday night, which will use the show's 400,000 odd (and no doubt growing) Twitter followers to shape debate on the show and ask questions. Called NightTline, the show's first question will be: "Is torture ever acceptable?"

As one of the people I follow on Twitter pointed out, using the platform for audience input is an evolution from the practice of asking people to text shows with their votes. Soon, real-time input from viewers via Twitter will become the standard for how TV shows, particularly news shows, and viewers interact.

But there's something else here, and it's actually bigger than Twitter: the increasing socialization of media sites, and the entire Web -- and I'm not just talking about the now commonplace practice of letting visitors to, say, nytimes.com comment at the bottom of stories. As we saw with CNN's partnership with Facebook Connect during the inauguration, media is starting to become not just about what's reported, but also about how we interact with what's being reported. Programs like NightTline are just the beginning.

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