I’ll be leading a Twitter workshop Thursday for the Iowa High School Press Association in Iowa City. Here is the one-page handout for that workshop, a shortened, student version of my Twitter tips for journalists. Here are the slides for the presentation to high school students.
Twitter is not as popular among high school students as some other social networks, but it still is an important tool for student journalists. Use among high school students is growing and it will be more important as you and your audience grow older. You can use Twitter to reach audiences not on Twitter:
- Use the Twitter app on Facebook to feed your tweets there
- Feed your tweets (or lots of people’s tweets, using a #hashtag into a CoverItLive liveblog
- Twitter RSS feed can post your tweets on your home page or blog
Possible uses for Twitter
- Monitor activities and discussions of people in your school
- Connect with people who will provide helpful tips and information
- Connect with other journalists (students or pros) and share ideas
- “Crowdsource” stories by asking your followers for story ideas or information
- Quickly find people who witnessed or experienced an event
- Aggregate tweets of people attending or experiencing an event
- Drive traffic to your web site, blog and/or print edition
- Helps improve your writing (140-character limit forces you to get to the point)
What should you tweet about?
- Link to a new blog post, story, video, photo (brief comment, then compressed link using bit.ly, is.gd or another URL shortener)
- Retweet (with a comment and attritubion) a link from someone else
- Reply to students’ tweets
- Tweet an unfolding story
- Tweet something insightful or funny
Be careful and ethical
- Use your real name. Some tweeps are fake, but journalists should be honest.
- Verify facts.
- Your tweets reflect on your journalism and your news organization.
Don’t really answer Twitter’s basic question “What are you doing?” Better questions: “What are you thinking?” “What are you reading?” “What do you want to know?”
Thanks to Sana Bakshi of @thevikingmag for answering some questions about use of Twitter by student journalists at Palo Alto High School:
Because this is our first year actively using twitter for sports scores, our feedback on the account is limited. Students do use twitter for sports scores, but the main outlet is still facebook or our website (voice.paly.net). In terms of development, we are starting to use twitter for getting sources, gaining interest, and getting contacts.
Additionally, we are using Twitter hashtags to create links. For example if we tweet “#PAfootball beats Milpitas 31-28. Joc Pederson kicks winning field goal. MVP Kevin Anderson for his defensive domination and pick-6. [js]” instead of spelling out Palo Alto Varsity Football, the pound sign also creates a link, so someone can click on it and see all the Palo Alto football tweets.
I (Sana) am the only one who completely manages the twitter account. Students go to the games and text me the score after the game. Then I forward the text messages to twitter and they get posted online. The same writers who go to these games write for The Viking and also write short sport beats to post online the day after the game.
Here is the link to one of the news stories: http://voice.paly.net/view_story.php?id=8809