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Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

A year ago, I urged Twitter to fix its arbitrary and stupid limit on accounts you can follow.

Here’s how annoying that limit is: That post is now my second most-read post, with more than 19,000 views. Day after day, nearly a hundred people come to my post, invariably from Google, looking for help with Twitter’s follower limit (97 came on Thursday, 83 on Friday).

Twitter allows anyone to follow up to 2,000 other accounts (although you can’t follow more than 1,000 in a day). I think it’s good for Twitter to have some measures to curb excessive following. It limits what spammers can do. But it’s ridiculous that Twitter hasn’t developed a way for an account to prove it’s legitimate and then continue adding followers.

The limit is not a problem for me. If you have more followers than the number you follow, you’re fine. I have more than five times as many followers as I follow, so I have well over 2,000 followers and have never hit the limit. (I’m trying to trim my follower list, just to lighten my timeline; please don’t take it personally if I drop you). (more…)

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For much of my first five or six years on Twitter, I tried to convince other journalists of its value. I’d assure them that you didn’t have to tweet about what you had for breakfast and that it really helps you find sources, report stories, etc. I’ve pretty much stopped doing that.

If you’re a journalist not using Twitter in 2014, you’ve chosen to be less skilled, less relevant, less visible and less connected. That’s your choice and I no longer care much about changing your mind. I can think of a few times in the last month that I’ve encountered journalists who were defiantly resisting use of Twitter and I just smiled, if I acknowledged their defiance at all.

But here’s one last try: You might get fired at any time. Every journalist knows that, especially these days. When you get fired, Twitter is an incredible source of encouragement and even job leads.

I’ve been fired twice in my career: in 1992 when I was editor of the Minot Daily News and Wednesday when Digital First Media announced that it was shutting Thunderdome and told me my job would end on July 1.

I had support from friends, family and colleagues in 1992, but it was one of the worst days of my career.  Wednesday was another difficult day. But it was still one of the best days of my career. I will always remember it fondly for the warm embrace of friends, especially on Twitter. (more…)

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I led a workshop at the American Copy Editors Society on how Twitter can be useful for copy editors. (No, I did not ask them to stand and sing, contrary to the appearance of the photo above.)

I made points covered in these previous #twutorial posts:

Step one for using Twitter as a reporter: Master advanced search

Hashtags help journalists find relevant tweets and reach more people

Hashtags considered #harmful by Daniel Victor

@bydanielvictor challenges the overuse of #hashtags

Use lists, TweetDeck, HootSuite, saved searches, alerts to organize Twitter’s chaos

How to verify information from tweets: Check it out

Ben Garvin’s advice: Illustrate your tweets

Updated Twitter time management tips

If a tweet looks too good to be true, grab a screenshot NOW

I probably make other points used elsewhere in my #twutorial series.

I also discussed curation.

Here are the slides for my workshop, followed by some tweets from workshop attendees (I may update later with more tweets):

That’s a tip from Andy Carvin, by the way.

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Thanks to conservative Texas Republican State Sen. Dan Patrick for this illustration of why you should edit tweets with rigor:

Here’s what Patrick meant to tweet:

If you go to the original tweet now, though, here’s what you see: (more…)

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About halfway into my #twutorial series, I realized I needed a better table of contents.

The point of the series is to help journalists use Twitter effectively to do better journalism, and how I steered people from one post to others was with a growing list of previous posts at the end of each post, mostly in reverse chronological order. For a while, I’ve been meaning to organize the links by topic, to be more helpful for journalists seeking help with using Twitter.

Thanks to Suzi Steffen for giving me the nudge in this recent exchange of tweets:

So here’s an index to my #twutorial posts, organized by topics (with some appearing more than once if I think they would fit multiple places; the one on search will show up several places). I’ll update periodically with posts from other journalists that I think are similarly helpful as well as with my own posts. I am the author of all posts listed here, unless I mention another author.

(more…)

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I am leading some workshops for the Southern Regional Press Institute at Savannah State University today. 

I participated in a panel discussion on “Ethics, Urgency and Accuracy” this morning.

Here are some links relating to ethics, urgency and accuracy (I made some of the points you’ll see in these links).

How to verify information from tweets: Check it out

Suggestions for new guiding principles for the journalist

My version of Craig Silverman’s accuracy checklist

The Verification Handbook is now available

I led a morning workshop on using Twitter to cover breaking news. In addition to the links above, this workshop covered information from these workshops:

Denver Post staffers’ #theatershooting coverage demonstrates Twitter breaking news techniques

You don’t tip competitors on Twitter; you beat them

Twitter is an essential reporting tool

Here are my slides for that workshop (I developed them knowing we weren’t likely to cover all the topics. We covered the first three and skipped to verification):

I developed these slides to use in either the panel discussion or the breaking-news workshop. I ended up using them to wrap up the breaking-news workshop:

I also will lead an afternoon workshop on showcasing your work and your skills in a digital portfolio. This workshop is based primarily on this blog post:

Use digital tools to showcase your career and your work

The workshop also will cover points made in some of these posts:

Your digital profile tells people a lot

Randi Shaffer shows a reason to use Twitter: It can help land your first job

Elevate your journalism career

Tips on landing your next job in digital journalism

Job-hunting advice for journalists selling skills in the digital market

Here are my slides for that workshop:

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I’m presenting a workshop on social media this afternoon for the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, meeting in Calgary.

Links related to the workshop are my #twutorial series, especially the posts on breaking news, advanced search and livetweeting. We’ll also be talking about crowdsourcing and Facebook engagement, including the use of photos from your archives.

Here are slides for the presentation:

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When it comes to generating traffic for your content, your number of social-media followers isn’t as important as how well you engage them.

Success lies not just in getting your social-media audience to click on the links you post, but in getting them to share the link with their friends and start a chain reaction of engagement.

I had essentially the same number of Twitter followers (15,000+) and Facebook fans and friends (almost 2,000) when I posted my Dec. 19 post about granting confidentiality to sources as when I posted last Saturday about whether to avoid tweets that might tip competitors about breaking news or events you’re covering.

Only 127 people have read the post on confidential sources, which I regard as at least as important for journalists to read. But more than 6,000 people have read the post on tweets and competition. In one week, that post got more views than anything I’ve posted in the past year.

It’s reasonable to think that as many of my social media followers saw my initial tweets and Facebook updates on the two posts. In fact, most of my followers are journalists, who might have been less likely to see the Saturday tweet and update because they weren’t working that day.

The difference: My tweeps started a chain reaction of discussion and links about the post on competition and Twitter. They reached thousands of people who don’t follow me and brought those people to my blog.

At least four factors are at play in the difference between the two stories: (more…)

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When Jen Westphal shared the email below with me, I quickly asked Jen and Ben Garvin, who wrote the email, if I could use it as a guest post. Ben’s Twitter bio describes him as a “Multimedia producer, photographer, photo editor, blogger at St. Paul Pioneer Press.”

I did a little editing and added some links and embeds to make this part of my #twutorial series. So here’s Ben’s advice on using photos with tweets (with tweets from Ben interspersed between the paragraphs):

In late October Twitter changed the way it shows images within your stream–images now automatically appear if they are tweeted from Twitter itself, not a third-party app. This small change has allowed for images to have much more impact and is something I think we all should be taking more advantage of!

Before you hit send on a tweet, ask yourself–what can I illustrate this with? A staff photo, a mugshot, a map, a screenshot of a website or headline, scene of a crime, even a selfie? Anything and everything is game. By attaching an image — any image — you immediately give your tweet a certain visual importance that will increase its reach. You will get more retweets, favorites and followers and slowly help the Pioneer Press TAKE OVER THE WORLD. (more…)

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My weekend post on why reporters shouldn’t worry about tipping the competition when they use Twitter generated at least two lively discussions:

Dan Kennedy asked whether it’s better to livetweet or liveblog. That launched a lively discussion among Dan, Malcolm Coles, Maureen Boyle, Matt DeRienzo and other (that also got into some business issues):

Dan Storified that discussion.

In another discussion, Dan Gillmor cautioned that when we tweet news on Twitter, we help Twitter more than we help our own company. That led to a vigorous discussion among Dan, Raju Narisetti, Steffen Konrath, Jim Dalrymple II and others. (It was a little challenging to keep up with and participate in both conversations at the same time.) (more…)

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You can’t get scooped because competition gets tipped to a story when you tweet about it. Your tweets already scooped the competition.

A Digital First engagement editor who’s been teaching colleagues how to use Twitter got these questions from a veteran reporter:

Thank you for helping me understand Twitter and how to use it. What I don’t get is: If we tweet where we are and what we’re doing, how do we keep the competition from making a few phone calls on a story we sat through a meeting to sift out and develop? Or they’re not at the fire, but I’m tweeting and now they know.

And if I give results on Twitter, why would they buy a paper to see the results of the game?

I thought Twitter was to draw readers to our paper. So this is a struggle.

This is classic print-centric thinking. The newspaper has an early print deadline so “they’ve been scooped a lot,” the engagement editor told me. In this kind of thinking, scoops are based on who has the print story first.

That’s not how Digital First journalists and newsrooms think. If we had the story first, we had the scoop. And you have the story first if you have it on Twitter and/or on your website.  (more…)

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I have long said that Twitter’s excellent advanced search is one of the most valuable tools for journalists today.

It is the superiority of Twitter’s search that makes it a more useful tool than Facebook for journalists, in my view, despite the fact that far more people use Facebook.

Well, Twitter search just got waaaay better with the development of twXplorer. Read Rich Gordon’s piece about twXplorer, then do some searches. I’ve just played with it a little and I’m really pleased and amazed.

What twXplorer does is analyze the results of a Twitter search and give you not just the tweets from a search but also patterns in those tweets: the terms, hashtags and links that show up most often in your search. And each of those terms, hashtags and links is hyperlinked, so you can click on it to filter just those tweets from your original search. You can also use it to search within a Twitter list.

It’s a great tool for refining searches and drilling down to find the most useful results. (more…)

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