Late last night Marshall Kirkpatrick published an epic post entitled Fail: Social News on World Events, Like Cuba. It is a great analysis of how web 2.0 news services covered a big mainstream news story. And the comments to the post are just as interesting. We actually got some kickback, with many commenters saying that the Castro news wasn't important enough for social news sites to cover in depth. That line of thought was started by the first commenter, Shannon Clark. So well done Shannon, for your efforts you've won a $30 Amazon voucher - courtesy of our competition sponsors AdaptiveBlue and their Amazon WishList Widget. Here is Shannon's full comment:

"A few counterpoints:

- while to a degree an important story, this is also the culmination of nearly 2 years of Castro in effect already having been out of office in all but name

- sure, there are some immediate reactions across the blogosphere, social media sites and "old media" sites (and given that the lines between the two keep blurring to non-existence it gets harder and harder each day to separate out the "old" from the "new" (NYTimes has many blogs, provides liveblogging of some things such as election returns/voting, CNN streams video to the web and has clips that might not make it on air) I go to a site such at The Atlantic mostly for their diverse group of bloggers & the active comments on many of those blogs (the occasional long form article being a pleasant bonus). They covered Castro on most of their blogs and in longer form.

- again I'd come back to the point that this is not a story that has to be covered and "done with" quickly - it's not a disaster, or even all that "breaking" of news - it is a transition that though the timing of it was unknown had been predicted for a long while (though many people did assume that Castro would die in office)

One further point - most of the sites you checked were, I suspect, in English. Have you looked at Spanish language sites? Just guessing randomly - but I'd predict that there was more and more active coverage in Spanish language social media sites - whether the Spanish part of wikipedia or Spanish language blogs (especially by Cuban ex-pats). I'd also suspect that many sites across Latin & Central America have a great deal more coverage than here in the US (or for that matter sites across the rest of the world which don't have the same embargoes that the US has with Cuba)

That said I think your points about testing whether social media is living up to the potential are worth exploring. I have seen some pretty interesting discussions via Twitter - in that case I think who you follow has a major impact (but your point about Twitter itself not having a good search or logged out page is a good one)."