Facts• Short messages (no more than 140 characters)• Like IM, Facebook status, SMS, e-mail, group chat• Seven million registered users in February 2009• 1,300 percent growth year over year• BusinessWeek (50), NYT (30), Guardian etc.• 42 per cent of users are between 35-49 (at work)
What is it for?• Simple, flexible tool – so difficult to define• What is email for? What is the telephone for? It’s a tool• Trivial or mundane, but also thoughtful and useful• Not “What am I doing?” but “What am I thinking”• Follow interesting people, find interesting things• Yes, it has a stupid name – but so does Google
When you hear people criticizing it, tryreplacing the word Twitter with the phrase“talking to people,” and see if the criticismstill makes sense.
What can I do with it?• Short thoughts, a link, a request for info, a comment• Ability to connect directly with readers, potential sources• Promote our content and get others to do so as well• See what is being talked about (Mumbai, earthquakes)• Pushes traffic to our content (There Will Be Blood)
How do I do it?• Follow people, post a message, then...• Check @replies and direct messages• See who follows you and others, then follow• See a discussion and contribute to it• Share a link, or “re-tweet” someone else• Search for topics, people, discussions
Things to think about• You have to give something to get something• A blend of the personal and professional• In a grey area between private and public• Everything is searchable and can be captured• Beware the impulse to flame someone
The bottom line• Just a tool (with a dumb name)• Can help you find people, sources• Can help us promote our stories• Conversational, thoughts and links• Experiment with it (Ian Brown)• Dont dismiss it without trying it
Twitter Is not Journalism• The emerging use of Twitter as a news medium ran smack into the limitations of live tweetingrecently during the trial of Russell Williams, a former Canadian Air Force colonel. How did arespected base commander manage to live a double life as a sexual predator?• This question can’t be answered in 140-character chunks. That’s why true media and publicationssuch as the National Post (disclosure: Post Media Network is a client of Scribble Technologies)covering the Williams trial are leveraging new technologies that marry social media with thetraditional news gathering process. The difference between these forms of coverage is not speed—both are instant—but content and context.• Twitter works nicely for providing links to existing stories, but with all due respect to those whoconsider it the future of news, it is not a workable or desirable medium for journalism. Twitter’slimitations make it a poor medium for news coverage.• It combines the immediacy of Twitter with authority, depth of content, and storytelling.• For one final point, consider how news organizations ranging from to covered the unrest in Egyptin real time. Reuters provided continuous live updating of the crisis, complete with thoughtfulreporting, images, and video. Al Jazeera instantly published audio reports via phone calls tobreak Egypt’s attempts to muzzle their reporters. These stories are still available to be readtoday, unlike Tweets. Instant, authoritative, and persistent: That’s the future of journalism.
• Verification issues• Limiting – 140 characters at a time• Not ubiquitous – technology issues for 3rd worldcountries/poor• Rumors, misinformation, especially during breaking news• Government censorship• Means of propaganda• Lack of analysis, deeper meaning• Presence of spam, worm attacks• Questions of accountability, intentions• Squatters and fake accounts
Twitter Is Journalism• Twenty-five years ago, CNN disrupted the news world when it launched the first 24-hour news network on cabletelevision. This time around, a microsize Web startup is disrupting the news business, creating the world’s first wireservice powered by everyday people. Introducing TNN, the Twitter News Network, and for those individuals glued totheir laptops and smart phones, chances are you will learn about the latest news and trends before the press caneven react.• The reality is that news no longer breaks; it tweets. Some 200 million people learn about breaking events as theyhappen, triggering a network effect that demonstrates the reach and velocity of social physics. The human network isbecoming a force, a distribution network that rivals traditional newswires.• If we define journalism as the reporting of news, then yes, it qualifies as a new form of journalism. With every newiterative update, social graphs transform into a highly organized information distribution system that resembles anAmber Alert network for the social Web—with far greater speed, reach, impact, and resonance. To deny it is to denythe voice of humanity.• Is it merely a recitation of the facts? Only after news media catch up with the news that had already trended for atleast an hour before they could respond. I call this the information divide, the time between a news event, when itbreaks on Twitter, and when the news media finally reports it. This is why news teams are now monitoring Twitterstreams much in the same way medical professionals monitor the pulse in the ER.• Why? The average person on Twitter is connected to 140 people. Add ReTweets and reactions to the mix, andsuddenly important information can travel faster than the traditional news cycle of responding to an event, checkingfacts, and reporting. Neither one is wrong, just different. Twitter has earned a place in the information economy, andit cannot be minimized. In fact, journalists could benefit from an internship at TNN. It’s where they’ll learn how tocompete for the future.
• Instantaneous, “realtime”• Potential to grow audience• Many different voices and perspectives• Worldwide use• Tip service• Eyewitness accounts• Free to use• Raw, no editing, no filters• Democratizes the news• Links for more information
How journalists use Twitter• The survey was done by Norwegian social media consultants and media monitors . While only 132journalists took part, it does give an indication as to how journalists in this country are using Twitter.• Here are some highlights:– 28 per cent of the journalists had both read micro blogs and shared messages themselves– 22 per cent had read messages on Twitter or other micro blogs, but not written any messages– 50 per cent had not used Twitter at all– Among the active journalists there are some of the common ways to use Twitter:– Research (30 per cent)– Getting story ideas (23 per cent)– Find out what micro blogs are (28 per cent)– Get feedback from readers (12 per cent)– Get in contact with sources and do interviews (13 per cent)– Promotion and branding (17 per cent)– Building network with other journalists (15 per cent)– Private use (29 per cent)• Obviously it is still a far way to go before the majority of journalists realize what a great tool Twitter canbe for them. Yet I am actually positively surprised that so many have tried it out.• On a more negative note the numbers seem to indicate that journalists don’t really look at this as a toolfor communication and collaboration with readers. That’s a pity and proves that there is a huge potentialfor improvement.
How We Use Twitter for Journalism• The scoffers can scoff all they want, buthere at RWW our use of Twitter so far hasincluded:– the discovery of breaking stories,– performing interviews,– quality assurance– and promotion of our work.
• Five Barriers to Journalists Using Twitterhttp://sarahhartley.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/five-barriers-to-journalists-using-twitter/• Top Twitter Tools for Journalistshttp://savethemedia.com/2009/03/27/top-twitter-tools-for-journalists-2/• The Ultimate Guide to Twitterhttp://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/03/the-ultimate-guide-for-everything-twitter/• The ROI of Journalists and Twitterhttp://danblank.com/blog/2009/02/20/the-roi-of-journalists-and-magazines-using-twitter/• How Journalists Can Use Twitterhttp://markmedia.blogs.com/markmedia/2009/02/how-a-journalist-can-use-twitter.html• Tweeting the Future of Journalismhttp://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2009/01/30/twittering-away-standards-or-tweeting-the-future-of-journalism/