I originally published this blog post Jan. 25, 2008, on my Training Tracks blog when I was at the American Press Institute. It’s no longer online there, but I have republished here, because I am referring to it in my keynote address for the Arizona Newspapers Association.
I have not updated my outdated and/or ignorant references to Twitter (I botched the 140-character limit; was very tempted to fix that huge error and the clumsy uses of twitter — always lower case then — as a verb). I did take out some outdated links (I may later add links to blog posts that are no longer available, if I republish them).
A couple months ago I wrote about my efforts to learn more about LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious and the world of Web 2.0. I’ll update you later on how those efforts are going, but right now I want to invite you to learn about twitter along with me.
As I mentioned in that last post, I’ve joined some social networking sites aggressively, trying to connect with people I know on them. I didn’t get twitter, so I joined it passively. It’s a site where you enter brief (240 characters or less) blurbs about what you’re doing. I didn’t get that. So I entered passively. My first twitters, Dec. 28 and 31 and Jan. 16, reflect that I didn’t get twitter and was waiting for someone to find me. And if they had found me, they would have been bored.
I had read about twitter before but first tried it after reading Howard Owens’ 2008 goals for non-wired journalists. Not long after that, I invited Howard to be a discussion leader for API’s Storytelling Innovations seminar.
Howard talked about twitter a bit during that discussion and I started to see the possibilities. So I’m going to give twitter a try in the coming week. I’ll update frequently and share my work, and probably a bit of daily life, with anyone who cares in brief twitters.
If you also don’t get twitter (or other aspects of social networking), I invite you to read along (and twitter yourself). Not because my life will be that interesting, though this will be a good week for some twittering. I invite you to check it out because you might see the possibilities for using twitter in your own work or to use twitter (or develop something that would be the next step) at the community level to increase local audience through social networking.
If you want to get a little better understanding of the possibilities for twitter, Laura Porto Stockwell tells in this blog how the LA Times used twitter to send people updates on the California wildfires. Or you can follow Ana Marie Cox (political blogger who came to fame as the Wonkette), who twitters about covering the presidential campaign. Or read about Ryan Sholin’s project to explore/promote the possibilities of twitter as a reporting tool. Mallary Jean Tenore has also written on Poynter Online about journalists using twitter.
So follow my tweets for the next week if you wish. If you want a preview, today will be spent at the Minnesota Newspaper Association, where I’m presenting a preview (a preview within a preview?) of Newspaper Next 2.0 as well as a workshop on writing leads. Next week, I’ll lead a discussion about ethics for API’s Leading the 24/7 Newsroom seminar, then fly to Erie, Pa., to lead a two-day ethics seminar for the Erie Times-News.
I don’t know whether I’ll get hooked on twitter and keep using it all the time or whether I’ll be glad the week is over and never use twitter again. If you’re up for learning along with me about a new corner of Web 2.0, here’s where you can find me on twitter.