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A quick guide for twitter shy journalists
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A quick guide for twitter shy journalists


Technologists and journalists were among the first to get on Twitter. Yet, there are many from the media industry who find Twitter overwhelmingly noisy. Conversations hanging inexplicably in the air, …

Technologists and journalists were among the first to get on Twitter. Yet, there are many from the media industry who find Twitter overwhelmingly noisy. Conversations hanging inexplicably in the air, an unfamiliar lingo, and a surfeit of annoying marketers and spammers have been enough to put off many journalists who would rather just do things the old way.

At the same time, media professionals are also using Twitter quite successfully to draw readers to their writing, to get information and opinion not available elsewhere and build brands, both for themselves and their newspapers or magazines.

This short guide from demystifies Twitter for the Twitter-shy journalist. From setting up an account and getting the basics in place to media industry-specific pointers.

Published in Self Improvement
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  • 1. Tips for
    Vikas Kaul
  • 2. Why you need to get on Twitter
    News breaks on Twitter. A massively growing online audience relies on social media for news. Journalists need to leverage this to direct readers to their work.
    Journalists are building brandsBoth individually and as representatives for news organizations, journalists are using Twitter to develop an influential online persona.
    There’s information on Twitter
    Real-time experiences, opinions and happenings add a never-before dimension to news and stories. Twitter also gives you direct access to people.
  • 3. Get on Twitter
    Your account
    Starting an account is dead easy. At you’ll find it takes a few minutes. But get your own name or something that sounds credible if you want “tweeple” to trust and engage with you.
    Your photo
    Prefer using your photo as it comes across as honest, real and more trustable.
    Your profile
    Write a good profile within the word limit. Make every word count so that you’re more easily found on searches and added to lists on which you'd like to be. Add your website
  • 4. Finding people to follow
    People you know
    Start with a few names you know and add them to your list of “following”. But make sure you tweet a few useful times before you start to add people. Avoid the “just figuring out Twitter” kind of update – it doesn’t help anyone.
    Follow Finder
    Use to select from among the followers of people you know.
    TweetDeck Directory
    Use’s directory to choose people from your profession or beat area
  • 5. Are you being followed?
    Request to be followedYou can start your set of followers by asking people you know very well to follow you
    Tweet usefullyYou get followers in time and as a function of what you tweet – if people find it useful and interesting, they will follow
    KeywordsWords you use in your tweets may attract followers, not all of them desirable. Check them out and block those who seem to be spammers or a nuisance in any other way.
  • 6. Tweeting because you can
    Compulsory tweeting syndrome
    Too many people feel they are under tweet-pressure and must churn out tweet after tweet about nothing in particular, only adding to the noise and clutter on Twitter.
    It’s true that the more you tweet the more your chances of collecting follows. But many of them will be spammers or someone trying to sell something.
    If you keep your tweets useful, specific, interesting and timely, you will get the right kind of followers and will be able to develop a meaningful social professional network that makes a difference to your work.
    Tweet with intent, tweet with reason, tweet with something real to say
  • 7. The fine art of retweeting
    Who wants to know?Re-posting to your followers what one of them has said is a good way to develop a network. Indiscriminate retweeting, much like over-tweeting, can just be off-putting, but as long as you believe the information is genuinely useful to someone you’re doing fine.
    While it’s wonderful to bring in some of the personal angle even in a professional twitter account, the radio of trivial tweets should be kept in check so it doesn’t tip over into being annoying.
    So whether you’re linking to some interesting article or retweeting someone else’s post, it’s important to ask yourself every now and then – who wants to know this?
  • 8. Tweet on the beat
    You can tweet morsels of interesting information while you’re researching your story or when you’re on the spot, before finally linking to your completed story.
    You can comment on and have conversations with people in your field of interest and add different viewpoints to your story.
    Break the news on Twitter and become a trusted source for your field of expertise depending on what portable device you carry, you’ll find dozens of apps that make tweeting on the go easy
    Search for Hootsuite, Echofon, Tweetie, TweetDeck or just “Twitter clients” to get one
    You’ll also find clients to help you quickly upload pictures and video on to Twitter.
    Try out different apps and stick with to the ones that suit your
  • 9. Searching Twitter
    Search Twitter on Twitter
    Using the in-built search box will give you streams of tweets based n your keyword, but there will also be a lot of noise created by retweets
    Out of Twitter experience
    Try and Advanced Search to narrow your search down by a whole set of parameters: exact phrase, word exclusions/inclusions, language, person, location, date, attitude, containing links, including or excluding retweets. This very quickly cuts the clutter. Also try
    While researching a story try Updates from Google’s real-time search options. Tweets related to your story will show up and
    #hashtags are a way of creating a collection of comments n a topic. Follow or click from Twitter. Or try to set up custom searches. Find a tag at
    To start a hashtag, it takes several people. It’s ideal for conferences and events. For eg, if you’re reporting on an event with several colleagues, you set up a hashtag.
  • 10. Journotwit
    Designed for journalists, bloggers and media professionals, Journotwit at is a great way to organize your tweets, searches, and people. There’s browser version and a desktop utility as well.
    With an easy account set up, it’s one of the best ways to get rid of the noise and make sense of all that chatter.
    Use the “word cloud’ to click and get a column of tweets on chosen keywords. EgHaiiti Quake.
    Create or delete columns based on your keyword or people preferences.
    With Journotwit, you can log into multiple accounts and switch between them easily. This is meant to be particularly helpful for tracking streams in different subject areas.
  • 11. Twitterview
    Much has been made of how you can do an interview on Twitter, but while some do this successfully, others have also made a mess of it
    Not every subject lends itself to 140-character questions and answers, so supplement with other forms of communication
    Doing an interview on twitter is good for a) accessing people you woldn’t be able to get to as quickly otherwise and b) involving others to participate with questions and opinions
  • 12. Direct access to your readers
    • On Twitter you can talk to your readers – something barely possible a few years ago. Here, your readers can become part of the story.
    • 13. Twitter is one of the best resources to bring a story alive with information and opinion on how news affects real people
    • 14. Verify your source as much as possible before using information – fact check using other means
    • 15. Message people without hesitation if you need inputs for a story – everyone does it
  • Helpful tools and sites : Plain-speaking, readable, epicenter of tips and advice on Twitter and other social media. They also have a Twitter for Journalists guide.
    Muck Rack : Discover what’s happening in the world of journalism, monitor the media and reach journalists
    #journochat: On certain days of the week, journalists get together on Twitter to talk. Type this tag any time into Search to see what was said. : Editors, journalists, publishers and everyone from the media industry’s who’s on Twitter : has articles and tips for journalists. Tips for live tweeting an event, how to verify a tweet, pros and cons of Twitter and more.
  • 16. Vikas KaulChief Marketing Officer
    M: +91.997.199.2833