Susan Mernit Primer for newsies (and
Presented to Center for Investigative Reporting &
January 11, 2010
Why do you want to use Twitter?
Build your own brand within an almost real-time network
Connect with communities of interest
Drive traffic to web site or link
Stay current with your peers
Extend your social media ecosystem (Twitter, Facebook,
flickr, video-sharing sites)
What you need to get started
Log in/account; Profile with photo, keywords, URLS
List of people to follow (start with Find People and select the Find on
Other Networks tab)
Know how Twitter search works & can use it
Know what a hashtag is; Know what @ symbol is
Know what RT or retweet is
Know how to use BIT.LY
Know how to search and measure results
Plan for how you want to use twitter
Getting started: Top Tips
Profile: Make sure you have a URL in your profile, a PHOTO &
use keyword for your description
Twitter search--Best way to follow a topic: type a phrase,
@username, or #hashtag in the search box
Follow & unfollow: Follow someone whose tweets you like—
and unfollow them as well! (no stigma)
Use RT. Retweet is what you put in front of a re-tweeting of
someone else—like a quote!
Example: @rosey18, Would like feedback, suggestions for site
and story ideas @californiawatch #futureofnews #california
Learn about #Hashtags
#hashtag makes a topic searchable across ALL twitter
accounts: try #futureofnews or #FAILEDPICKUPLINES and
see what you get
EX: @gotcha21 #failedpickuplines Do you believe in love at first
sight, or should I walk by again?
Note: Find #hashtags on twitter randomly, and at
If you follow #hashtags, the site will automatically add any
hashtags you create.
Ever think about how, if you used a “real URL” it might take up
all 140 characters of your tweet?
That is why URL shorteners now exist. I recommend bit.ly
Bit.ly offers URL redirection service with real-time link
tracking added in, so you can see how many people clicked
on a link you set up.
To use bit.ly, create an account so you can take advantage of
its tracking features.
You can link multiple accounts together to track, such as
@californiawatch, @cironline, @rosey18.
Twitter is about dialogue.
One terrific (and very active) media Twitterer is Joan Walsh of
Salon (http://twitter.com/joanwalsh). Some sample tweets
@MWJ1231 I don't dare RT that Michael Steele letter! @JoeNBC would
be mad at me! It is simply not fair! But it is hilarious.
@MarkKohut Yes, that is the brilliant @harrislacewell, and I haven't
checked her profile to see if she's weighed in on this...
@blogdiva Yes and thanks for #FF reminders: @KatrinaNation
Can anyone think of an example of Bush detailing intelligence failures
and saying "the buck stops here.”
Discussion: Why is Walsh a good Twitterer?
Use Twitter to share links
Drive traffic to a specific site or story, some examples
from around the web:
AspenInstitute: The WaPo reviewed Paul Goldberger's "Why
Arch. Matters today: Listen to Goldberger discuss fave DC bldgs
in 2009 talk: http://bit.ly/2OPccO
digiphile The @NatGeoSociety relaunched
http://NationalGeographic.com - Details: http://j.mp/8X0lX8 Uses
#opensource platform (Django) [HT @RitaJKing]
MyrnaTheMinx : Reviewing my notes for "Future of News" on
KNPB at 6pm. Might mention @OaklandLocal & @CaliforniaWatch
as ex. of new journo models. #fb
Discussion question: What is a cultural curator and how does
that relate to how you twitter?
Get the most out of your efforts
Be consistent: Set a schedule for twittering (and posting
to Facebook). Example:
15-30 minutes in am, reading and posting 1-3 tweets
15-20 minutes lunch break, reading and posting, 1-2 tweets
5 pm: quick 15 minutes, reading and posting
Remember: you can never follow everything.
Manage interests via Search function, friends’ names (see what
they twittered today).
Discussion: Did you know you can tweet from your phone?
Invest in using some basic tools
Measurement & Tools To Use
Google analytics: Check traffic sources to see how many
referrals a specific site got
Bit.ly: Check Bit.ly account to see who clicked on your bit.ly links
Retweets: Check retweets right on twitter—Click retweets, see
Your tweets, retweeted
Twitterholic: http://twitterholic.com/ See who is most popular,
sort by region
Directory: We follow, http://wefollow.com/ Add your account
where it is relevant, search for accounts to follow
Question: Are there other tools you like?
Practice, right now!
Add everyone in this workshop to your twitter stream.
Send a tweet right now! Retweet a tweet of someone who you
Send a message that starts with @(name of user) and addresses
Search twitter for a topic that interests you. Follow someone who
is tweeting about that topic. Retweet the tweet of someone you
have not followed before
Search Find people to see who is on twitter who is an email
connection; add everyone you are interested in, whether you are
good friends or not.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Some common questions:
Why use Twitter?
Who do I follow?
Will people follow me?
But what if I have nothing to say?
Are people going to judge my tweets?
For more info
PS Mobile twitter options:
M.twitter.com—twitter’s mobile site
Tweetie-, iPhone app for twitter--http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-
Blackberry clients: Ubertwitter, OpenBeak