Twitter: the journalist’s boundless, fickle almanac

14 Mar

Twitter has undoubtedly become the best way for the general audience to get news quickly, although its reliability as a credible source is severely in doubt due to the lack of a content filter. However, despite its flaws, journalists would be absolutely foolish to not maximize the platform to collect and disseminate information. Similarly, users have proven that they respond well to the media on Twitter (especially media figures’ personal accounts in which users feel they are most likely to get a reply and that they give a more intimate background to news gathering) and are eager to share knowledge and stories within their network. This sort of crowdsourcing has turned Twitter into a social media wire service, which has lead to a massive movement toward citizen journalism. For example, the revolutions and political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia were fueled and given credence by their coverage on Twitter throughout the world, and this trend has continued.

The reporting process is an involved, arduous one that often relies on other people to collect information in a timely manner. Twitter has become a wonderful resource to start conversations among and engage an audience, post story updates as they happen, and locate appropriate sources. Its advent as a mainstream media outlet has given credence to the idea that the people make the news, not newspapers or networks.

In addition to its live updating capabilities, Twitter also features organizational functions such as lists. For a journalist, this feature could help distinguish different kinds of sources, such as by location, particular story, personal interviews or competitive media outlets. This customization creates a new user experience for each list, as well as improves the search capabilities for information and sources that fit a particular category. Third-party clients for the various smartphone and tablet operating systems (HootSuite and TweetDeck, for example) also make monitoring timelines all the more simple, streamlined and mobile. This further access to what is already a wealth of information is essential to perpetuating the idea that Twitter is a worthy addition to the new media family.

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#tsfpractice

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2 Responses to “Twitter: the journalist’s boundless, fickle almanac”

  1. Ronald R. Rodgers March 22, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    Well done and well linked.
    As for your story, I felt like I was on LSD. Reality checked out and the mirror cracked. Need translation.

    • Sara March 22, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      Welcome to improv comedy. This is why adults shouldn’t play pretend.

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