A Journo’s Intro to
Or: Yeeeahhhh, can you fit all that news
into 140 characters?
With a picture?
And make it SEO friendly?
By @jamieg, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 2009
• Breaking news as it happens.
• Keeping up with breaking news and tips.
• Quick opinion polling.
• Story sharing.
• Source finding.
• Ego building.
• Gossip following.
• Sometimes incorrect — fact-checking still matters.
• Sacrifice AP style: Only 140 characters!
• Good: Taking thought into multiple tweets.
• Bad: Letting a thought get cut off in a single tweet
because you wrote more than 140 characters.
• Shorten links: Use a URL shortener — copy in
the URL, paste in the new, short one. (Twitter will
use Tinyurl for you. Other services are even
Examples: Tinyurl.com, Is.gd, Tr.im, Bit.ly
• Pick a short, descriptive, memorable username. It
can be changed, but it’s confusing if you do it after
establishing yourself with a different name.
• Unless it’s a group account or you’re Tweeting as the
voice of a company/organization — AJC, for instance
— use a real photo of yourself.
• Link to your blog/Web site in your profile. Unless your
account is ALL personal, state where you work.
• Remember: Most won’t separate or understand Work
You and Real You or Online You and Real You.
• Unless you’re doing something fabulously
interesting, don’t answer the question “What
are you doing?”
• Interesting to you? Probably to others, too.
• Post links. Give credit.
• Be real. Are you newsy? Topical? Snarky?
Friendly? Local? Funny?
– Whatever you are in real life, be a more concise
version of that on Twitter.
• Twitter is (usually) a waste of time if you post
without responding or talking to others.
• To get, you must give. Users must trust you
before they’ll reach out to you.
• To gain followers, start following people who
interest you, or who mention similar topics.
• The more you follow/are followed by the
easier it is to get info.
• Talk. Help. Share. Argue. Agree.
• Don’t like someone? Click “Unfollow.” Done.
Who can see me Tweet?
• Unless you’ve protected your updates
everybody can see your tweets.
• “Block” means a user can’t follow you, but
can still see public tweets. (Block spammers!)
• Everybody can see/search your @replies.
• If you send a direct message, only the person
you are messaging can see it. You can’t send
DMs to people who aren’t following you.
• Tweets can be deleted, but generally not from
clients like TweetDeck, mobile clients etc.
Twitter glossary: abbreviations
• RT: Retweet
• OH: Overheard
• DM: Direct Message
• IRL: In Real Life
• FTW: For The Win*
• IMO: In My Opinion
* For the Win: Yea!
Twitter glossary: symbols
• @username: @ shows a specific
Twitter user is being addressed, or
credited. Shows up in @replies column.
• #hashtag: # denotes a tag to ease
searching for specific topic,
conversation or event. Remember
#iranelection, #atlgas or #socon09?
Twitter glossary: terms
• Tw- prefix: Tweeple,
— people will say or
type these things to
terms, but it’s not really
clever or charming
anymore. Do it
• Fail Whale: The sparingly, if ever.
image you see when For real: not cute.
Twitter is overloaded
Update via browser: Twitter.com
@ signifies a
messages to me
that all can see.
are those only I
Updating via Browser
• To update on Twitter.com, just login,
type your 140-character-or-less
message and click “update.”
• “Home” shows the tweets of everyone
you follow. “Profile” shows your tweets.
• Want to customize your Twitter look?
Go to: Twitter>>Account>>Settings>>
Update via client: TweetDeck
Not your style?
More than one?
are in the works
all the time!
Folks I follow:Journos, People talking AJC mentions: Links, thanks,
pals, sources, locals, to/mentioning me: PR complaints, rumor, gossip.
businesses, nice people. lady, local blogger, journo,
AJCer, little sister.
Updating via client
• Twitter apps like TweetDeck allow easy
searching and constant updating, which
makes it easier to keep an eye on
news and subject searches.
• TweetDeck streamlines updates by
giving the option of linking to Facebook
status updates and including a URL
Update via mobile device: Apps!
Cell phone: Go to Twitter>>Settings>>Devices, enter
your cell phone number. Program 40404 into your cell
phone. Text it to post to Twitter. You can also set your
phone to receive updates and direct messages.
Free: TweetDeck Free: Twitterberry
$2.99: Tweetie Free: UberTwitter
$4.99: Twittelator QuickTimeª and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Updating via mobile device
• When updating via text message,
remember that most text messages can
be 160 characters, but Twitter only
• Other services allow you to post links to
cell phone photos via your phone, but
not Twitter itself.
More Twitter Tools
• Search: Search.twitter.com
• User search: Twitterholic, Twellow, Mr. Tweet
• Photos: Twitpic, yfrog, Flickr
• Music: Blip.fm
• Shutting people up: Twitter Snooze
• Updating FB status: Facebook app
• Helpful/gratuitous Twitter apps: Squidoo list