Twitter and Journalism

As much as I’d like to pretend, 26 twitter followers doesn’t make me internet famous. And while my mom may beg to differ, those 26 people aren’t exactly hanging on the edge of their seats, waiting to see the next thing I’ll tweet (which usually isn’t that profound, if I’m being honest).

Still, for an established journalist or a person who has made themselves known in their field, Twitter is a wonderful resource for gathering information and quotes that are conveniently packaged in under 140 characters.

Finally, word vomit has been somewhat conquered.

The most important feature Twitter has to journalists, in my opinion, is not its ability to gather information, but the way it allows writers to stay connected to their readers.

Like Steve Buttry, author of “10 ways Twitter is valuable to journalists” wrote, Twitter allows journalists to “crowdsource [sic],” or, have conversations with their followers.

Every story that’s published and linked to on Twitter has the capacity to start a conversation, which may lead to a follow-up story or even an entirely different angle on the issue written about.

While this is all useful, it’s only helpful, in my opinion, if the Tweeter has an established online presence. Which, with my haphazard tweets about all-nighters and wonderful Late Night food, won’t happen for awhile.

For a person who doesn’t have an established presence, browsing through the tags and tweeting at the people that made those comments can be just as helpful. Buttry mentioned this in his article as a way to “search for sources,” which is incredibly useful.

Twitter, which, I’ll be honest, I thought was really unnecessary when it first came out, has become an important tool for sharing news and staying connected with readers.

Now if I could only find someone willing to discuss with me the sorry state of Late Night’s bacon, I’ll be golden.

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Twitter Frenzy

The Twitter world is a confusing place. It’s a world where people can share their thoughts in a limit of 140 characters as they get excited about a person who has started to follow you. It’s a phenomenon that has absorbed a lot of people’s lives, including me.

I joined the Twitter world involuntarily. One was made for me by my friend as a joke one day, and as the Twitter account just lingered on in the internet for a few days, curiosity got the best of me as I started to see what the whole Twitter business was all about. At first, it just kinda seemed stupid and awkward.

Just a list of people to make you feel a little bit better about yourself

Just a few people to make you feel a little bit better about yourself

As time went on, I began to tweet more and more without realizing it. I had been officially hooked. As I came into Penn State, the Twitter world became such a bigger part in my life. Joining different clubs and taking classes like Comm 260, Twitter was not only a part of my social life but my working life as well.

I personally think it is the best social media out there right now. It’s very simple in its format, making it people more open to the idea of using it. It’s provides a lot of different ways for people to communicate with each other and also keeps me up to date on the latest news. I really feel like there is a Twitter page for everything now. I follow one page that basically talks about carrots all day.

As a journalist, it is kind of fun in a way. One of our main jobs is too be succinct in our words, but making sure that they deliver the message in the best way. Like Mallary Tenore said, “ It’s a verbose writer’s friend and worst enemy — a constant reminder that it’s often harder to write short than it is to write long.” This is a problem that I run into constantly as I am usually forced to rid all punctuation so I can fit in my hashtag.

All in all, I really do not have a problem with Twitter all too much. The people ruin it sometimes for me with the annoying retweets or the desperate attempts at getting follows, but I expect that from a social media. It is a great place to get news from and it allows me to do my work so much easier on, being able to contact bands and just other people all across the world.

Using Twitter to Create a Voice as a Journalist

Unlike the majority of my peers, I never considered myself a “Twitter addict” in high school.  I rarely tweeted on my own and I didn’t understand how people had the time to constantly check their feed.  Everytime I logged on, I saw so many pointless tweets and I felt like I was wasting my time reading vindictive sub-tweets or pointless back-and-forth drama.  I rarely updated my own account because I never felt like I had anything substantial to say.  I viewed this form of social media as pointless because so many people my age use it as their own personal diary that I didn’t have the time or desire to read.

 

Over the summer I had an internship with Talbot Digital, a digital media firm that works with advertising political campaigns through social media.  My role in this firm was to come up with tweets and facebook posts for the Twitter accounts @RecycleCartons and @RecycleTetraPak.  (I also created posts for the Facebook account Recycle Cartons.)  This opportunity taught me how to craft a tweet that can grab attention and be informative in 140 characters or less, which, as Mallory Jean Tenore said in 6 ways Twitter has made me a better writer, has taught me to write more succinctly.  Working for these accounts got me a little more interested in the Twitter world because I saw how organizations can create a voice for themselves to get important messages out and spread awareness on various topics, but I still seldom used my account on my own personal time.

 

It was this class that completely changed my opinion about Twitter.  I created a new account for this class which followed only news accounts, people and organizations I was actually interested in hearing from.  This class inspired me to add Twitter to my media diet and I now see how informative it can really be.  Although it shouldn’t be someone’s main source of information, it helps get news out quickly and efficiently.  I also now see how important it is for journalists to have a voice and an image for themselves, and I completely agree with Steve Buttry’s detailed list of 10 ways Twitter is valuable to journalists.


This class also taught me how useful hashtags can be.  Since I was used to reading pointless high school tweets, I always saw hashtags for silly, long-winded, uninformative phrases.  But, as Buttry said, hashtags can be really beneficial in researching a certain topic or finding valuable sources on a topic.

Twitter: The Ultimate Breaking News Source

Prior to taking this class, I never saw a need for multiple social media accounts. I always believed it was repetitive to share the same information over different sites and spend all your time checking up on what other people have posted on them. I was a “one-size-fits-all” kind of girl with Facebook. Now, that I’ve been on Twitter for approximately 4 months, I can truly say it has it’s own unique value in the way I receive and spread news.

For example, when I’m scrolling through my Facebook news feed, it’s hard to sort through all the drunk photos from the night before and irrelevant status updates before I can actually get to interesting stories (like the one about the Russian artist who nailed his testicles to the ground in protest at Kremlin’s crackdown on rights.) But, since I have added Twitter to my media diet, this mindless scrolling is a thing of the past. I can easily access what I am looking for by searching for stories through their hash tags in the search bar. 

I have to agree with Steve Buttry’s article, “10 ways Twitter is valuable to journalists.” Being able to follow big news corporations, such as CNN and NYT, as they push out breaking news information is a big advantage of using Twitter. Also, the idea that Twitter saves time is completely accurate. The fact that there is a word limit,  140 characters, to tweets forces the writer to write concisely while getting out the most essential information about the story as possible.  It not only makes it easier for the reader to pick out what interests them, it also makes us as journalists better writers because it challenges us to use only the most terse and precise language.

Twitter has aided me as both a writer and a news consumer. I am appreciative that we have sites like this where we can explore others and share our own stories. 

Tweeting My Life Away

Twitter has been around a lot longer than I thought it was. I didn’t get into twitter till 2012, six years after it was first founded, and I really didn’t even want too. I had a Facebook and I thought that was enough social media for me. However, all my friends started to get into Twitter halfway through my senior year so I thought I should join in, then I fell in love with it. Facebook became a thing of the past when I signed up for Twitter. I was able to follow my favorite celebrities and athletes (which I love) and it became a great media outlet to connect with people that have the same interests as me.

I agree with Mallary Tenore in saying that Twitter has helped me write more succinctly. Tenore says ,” The social networking site taught me that in writing, every word counts (literally). By limiting myself to 140 characters, I have to be strategic about how many words I use and how I use them. Training myself to write succinctly on Twitter has made me more aware of extra words in my stories.” I agree with Tenore that it has made me be less wordy as well. It has helped me take out those extra words that really have nothing to do with what I’m trying to say and are basically just filter. I don’t necessarily think Twitter has helped me become a better writer in all, but it has definitely helped me be more concise in what I’m am trying to say or write. 

Twitter has also helped me become a better news reader and become more knowledgeable of what is going on in the news. Steve Buttry says in his article ,” When public news breaks in your community, whether that news is a plane crash, terrorist attack, earthquake, flood, mass murder or snowstorm, people who have seen and experienced the news event tweet about it.” This not only happens on Twitter, but all of social media. Twitter not only helps me find out news going on across the world, it has also connected me to what is going on in my hometown while I’m at school. The news you could find out can be amazing and great, but you could also find out about tragedy. The hash tag has also been a great source of finding out news. When you click on a hash tag, it gives you a bunch of other people or news that contain that same hash tag. Twitter also helps news sources get straight to the point with the news they tweet out because of the 140 character limit (another plus!). 

Twitter will continue to become a bigger part of journalism and the future of journalism. Personally, twitter helps me let out my thoughts about anything and everything and it has become a great source for connecting with people and finding out news. Tweeting at celebrities or athletes trying to get a retweet or a follow is something that is fun, and who knows, maybe they will respond ( I’m still waiting to get one). I think the future of journalism is bright with social media being added to the mix and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me. 

Give me a follow on Twitter! @bleghammer50 for my personal account or @chris_bleggi50 for my school account

twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Could Twitter Really Help Improve My Writing?

I was never big on twitter to begin with; it has become something that has recently grown on me. I was always a little bit skeptical about how much you can really say on twitter. I’m very much the type of person who likes to ramble, I always have a lot to say and whenever I do decide to tweet, it can never fit into the 140 word- count category. Using minimal adjectives, reducing the amount of words I use and being able to make a short strong sentence are three factors that I have struggled with throughout my career of writing.

 

In Mallary Tenore’s “ 6 ways Twitter Has Made Me A Better Writer,” she explained the changes she made in her own writing. Mallary mentions that she treats each sentence as if it were a tweet to express the significance of each word. Twitter limits each used to a 140-character limit, each tweet must be bold enough to flaunt on the media. Mallary’s method helps keep each sentence less wordy but strong. Some of the best writers don’t use an excessive amount of adjectives to form a great sentence. The best writers form strong sentences by trimming off the fat.

 

Overall, twitter has improved the way we receive and read news. Nowadays, the minute there’s any type of breaking news, it finds its way onto the Internet within minutes. Steve Buttry’s “ 10 ways Twitter Is Valuable to Journalists “ communicates how quickly people are to post breaking news on twitter. Nobody has to go out of their way to find a news channel or a newspaper anymore. Anybody can just log onto their twitter through either their phone or computer and read a simple 140- character brief synopsis on what the updates are or what he breaking news is.

 

 Ultimately, as journalists, our main goal is to give our audience accurate and speedy news. Not everybody wants to go into full detail about every occurring event that is happening everyday. People want to get the synopsis; the details aren’t always fully necessary. Buttry and Tenore emphasize that the character limits a benefit while being a journalist on twitter. The general public is content with a few sentences of the new updates in the news world. Because of this, I think that twitter is a great way to expand my vocabulary as a writer and keep each of my sentences intriguing to the audience by using strong words. 

Twitter as a Tool

When I first began using Twitter, hashtags seemed to be a joke. Always envisioning the verbal context of my tweets, it was humorous to say my hashtags aloud, particularly when they were quirky ones, incapable of producing search results from another tweeter if I clicked on them.

Three years of tweeting later and I’ve finally begun to not only use and understand hashtags, but to rely on them to provide me with further information. The process is now more along the lines of notice trend, compose tweet, use hashtag, click on hashtag, come to life five minutes, eight Twitter profiles and several replies later.

Twitter, via trends and the following of many credible and prestigious news outlets, is my primary source of news. In this sense, I connect with journalist Mallary Tenore, who also says Twitter’s 140 character limit taught her that every word literally counts. Just as Tenore says in her article on how Twitter has made her better, I’ve learned to consolidate my words and be overall more efficient with the English language.

I’ve also attained a better understanding of Twitter as a tool for informative conversation, rather than a forum to just spill your thoughts. As Steve Buttry points out in his piece, hashtags on Twitter are actually an ‘advanced search feature’ which allow for immediate access to breaking news, as I pointed out in a previous blog post.