An interesting chart from Pew Research Center comparing the rise of Ferguson discussion on Twitter versus on cable news in the week following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Mike Brown:
Overall, notes Pew, the growth curve was fairly similar on both Twitter and cable news. This doesn't seem surprising in the slightest: There's little doubt that Twitter and cable news have a symbiotic relationship. And it's also not a surprise that coverage on MSNBC was initially heavier than coverage on either Fox or CNN.
But even though the total amount of Twitter traffic in subsequent days dwarfed that of the first two days—just five percent of Twitter traffic came on Saturday and Sunday—there were hundreds of thousands of tweets on what was going on in Ferguson before it hit cable news. Even though the growth curve ultimately aligned, 13 percent of Twitter traffic on Ferguson took place in the first 3 days following Brown's killing compared with four percent for cable news. Over the course of a week, that doesn't seem like a huge difference, but at least at the beginning, Twitter spread word of Ferguson more quickly than cable.