My #twutorial posts have been too long, so I’m going to share a short list today to help journalists use Twitter more effectively. I’ll provide some answers to a question I often hear from journalists: Who should I follow (yeah, I know it should be whom, but that’s how they ask)?
- Use Twitter’s “who to follow” feature (yeah, that should be whom, too) to search for officials and agencies on your beat and other regular sources and follow them.
- When you interview people, ask them for their usernames and their organizations’ usernames, find them in the Twitter app on your phone and follow them right there as you’re talking to them.
- Better yet, check for their Twitter accounts before you go to the interview, so you can catch up on what they’ve been doing lately. The tweets might help you ask good questions.
- Whenever you find someone to follow, check their recent tweets to see whom they are conversing with. Check them out. If they are local people or people interested in your beat, follow them.
- If someone retweets you or replies to you, take a look at their profiles and their tweets to see if they are from your community or share your interests.
- Do occasional location-based searches using Twitter’s advanced search for people in your community who are tweeting. You could use keywords relating to your beat and find people interested in the topics you cover.
- Twitter suggests people for you to follow, some of them based on the content of your tweets and/or similarity to the other people you follow. I just used it and followed five Digital First colleagues I wasn’t following yet.
- When you’re visiting a website doing research related to your beat, check for “follow us on Twitter” icons, and follow them if you aren’t already and if you think this person or agency might be helpful again.
- Whenever you find someone to follow, using any of these means or others, check their followers and the people they follow, looking for other people in your community or others who share your interests.
What are other ways you find helpful people to follow? Please share them in the comments below and/or using #twutorial on Twitter.
Next I will address how to build a following on Twitter. (I said last week that I’d address that topic next, along with finding people to follow, but I decided to handle them separately.)