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Archive for the ‘#twutorial series’ Category

Numbers always demand context.

Twitter is used by “only” 19 percent of Internet-using adults. That was the word Ann Friedman used in a Columbia Journalism Review piece, following up on the discussion of New York Times Twitter use started by Buzzfeed and continued by me, Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet and others.

Friedman’s piece gave reasons why a journalist might want to use Twitter as well as some why you wouldn’t. She’s enthusiastic about Twitter and I applaud her contribution to this discussion. But I’m going to pick at that one word, because others have used that 19 percent figure as a reason to dismiss Twitter. On Twitter and in a comment on Friedman’s post, people zeroed in on that number as a supposed sign that Twitter isn’t important (Ivan is channeling others here, not expressing disdain):

But 19 percent of adult Internet users is a lot. Let’s do the math:

How much differently would Friedman’s piece have read if she had written “a whopping 40 million Americans” instead of “only 19 percent”?

My opening point was that numbers demand context. So here’s some context for you: 19 percent of adult Internet users or 40 million Americans is more than:

The point is: Internet use is huge and 19 percent of its users are a lot of people. Google, Amazon and Facebook have bigger audiences, I presume, maybe a few more. But there aren’t many bigger digital audiences than Twitter’s.

And, as I’ve said many times before, Twitter is an excellent tool for finding sources on breaking news, liveblogging and many other journalism uses that have nothing to do with the potential size of your audience.

Don’t use 19 percent as a measure of how small Twitter is. It’s a measure of how big Twitter is.

Update: I remembered this after initially posting. I made a similar argument here a couple years ago, when the numbers were smaller.

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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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