Making Twitter Your Newswire


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How to get the information you want out of Twitter

Last update: March 20, 2012

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Making Twitter Your Newswire

  1. 1. Making Twitter YourNews Wire 1) Overall strategy 2) Finding people 3) Building lists 4) Creating good searches
  2. 2. Your Overall Strategy:Go from general to specificStart by following broad topics and people…Check in on these on a regular basis. They will be yourdaily news digest and your early warning system.When something catches your eye, filter down to followthat topic more closely…Use lists and advanced searches to get more specific inwhat you’re tracking.
  3. 3. Making people your newswire…
  4. 4. To recap:Following = Subscribing to People The follow button is accessible on a user’s profile page, or if you click on their name in your timelineThe people you follow are the people whose tweets show up in your timeline.Following is NOT reciprocal. If you follow someone, you see all their tweets. Theydo not see all your tweets unless they follow you back.Users typically ARE informed when you follow them, but are not informed if you“unfollow” them later (so it’s okay to continuously refine who you follow).
  5. 5. Start by following people you trust…Use Twitter’s search bar to find people and organizations you already know areuseful or already rely on. Try: current sources, other journalists, major news organizations, NGOsYou’ll probably find you end up getting more value out of people thanorganizations – people tend to be better curators than companies.
  6. 6. Ask: Who do they care about? Who are they talking to, mentioningWho are they following? and RT-ing?Who have they listed?
  7. 7. Ask: Who is as good as they are?Who does Twitter think is similar to them? Who is on lists with them?Over time, you will build up a Twitterstream filled with people who tweetinteresting and useful items.Don’t forget, you can always unfollowsomeone who turns out not to be whatyou wanted.
  8. 8. Cues For Evaluating AuthorityIs this person worth following? Or even who they say they are? How many tweets has this person sent? Have they been on Twitter a while or did they just set up this account to tweet about one single event? Number of followers and ratio of followers to following: A legitimate Twitter account will have more followers than following or approximately 1:1. Is this person often retweeted and @mentioned? Do a Twitter search for @username to see if anyone else is paying attention to what they say. Has this person been listed by others? Lists are a symbol of trust. Can you tell where this person is located? Look at their bio and any geo information on their tweets. Make sure this information is consistent over time and they haven’t just written a location to coincide with major events. More tips:
  9. 9. Use lists to create specialized streamsLists let you curate users into categories,and then view their tweets in a separatestream.* *You don’t have to follow someone to put them in a listAccess your lists from your profilepage or from your head icon
  10. 10. Or follow lists curated by othersWhy reinvent the wheel when you can piggyback on the work others have doneto find and filter Twitter users?
  11. 11. Making search your newswire…
  12. 12. To recap:Search = Find Tweets by Keyword Search for tweets, people, and media using the search bar at the top of the screen. Toggle between “Top” and “All” to see what the most important Twitter users are saying and what everyone is saying.
  13. 13. To recap:Hashtags = Grouping TweetsHashtags (#tag) are used to group tweets about a certain subject so they are easier tofind. You’ll often see them used for: Events Topics Memes Humor
  14. 14. To recap:Use Hashtags as a Search ToolClicking on a hashtag automatically does a Twitter search for that hashtag so you cansee all the tweets being tagged.Use hashtags inyour own tweetsto make themmore findable.
  15. 15. Save searches to track them over timeReturn to any of your saved searches byclicking on the search bar at the top ofthe screen. You will see the most recentresults for that search.
  16. 16. Go advanced for better resultsOnce you’ve done your search,click “Advanced search.”Now you can exclude terms, seetweets only in a certain language,search by location, etc.
  17. 17. Search OperatorsWith complicated searches, you will get better results typing search operatorsdirectly into the search bar than using the advanced search function.
  18. 18. Or use an outside search engineTwitter search only goes back a few days. Try Topsy( to search older tweets. More websites to try: and-20-features-for-searching-old-tweets/
  19. 19. Bring it all together…
  20. 20. Twitter Clients: HootsuiteFollow all your searches and lists all inone place.Create your account at can also use TweetDeck to do thesame thing. Go to
  21. 21. You didn’t say anything about what I should tweet!It’s all part of an iterative process. Share what you find on your Twitter newswire, sharethe research you do because of it, and share the content you produce as a result. Andkeep listening all the way through to refine your ideas and get new ones. Listen Produce Research Share
  22. 22. Ready for more?Check out “Search Techniques: Twitter andWeb”