Having recently added the latest social networking phenomenon that is Twitter, I have been thinking about the ways in which journalists can use it to their advantage. I’m by no means the first to discuss this, the Online Journalism Blog has been twittering on about it for longer than I can remember and is the chief reason I jumped on the bandwagon.
One thing that strikes me about it is the potential to get publish stories as they happen, using Twitter as a research tool as well as a promotional one. Azeem_A says:
It’s a quick way of getting information out to your network, or post ideas that you intend to write up later.
This is a useful feature because, by posting unfinished ideas, there is the potential for improvement of them by taking into account the feedback of others in the same network. Personally, I find that, rather than using it as a tool to get information out to the network, it is used as a promotional tool. By this I mean, promoting ones own work or blog posting. Not that there is anything wrong with this of course, I find it one of the most useful aspects of Twitter, as it takes me to places I would not have found if it were not for Twitter.
Such as the invention of Snowballing, which has to be seen to be believed. I only stumbled upon this because of a twitterfeed from Cowbite.
The Online Journalism Blog recently asked its readers what they used Twitter for in their newsrooms and came up with some interesting responses. Most concerned the breaking of news early on, almost as it happens and the advantages that come with this. However, while there was a lot of praise for the tool, there seemed to be some uncertainty to its potential.
Personally, I am only beginning to see the benefits of Twitter myself. I will be spending the back-end of this week twittering the headlines from Birmingham Crown Court as they happen from my mobile phone – outside the court room clearly. It would appear that this could be a good way to get the news out as quickly as possible, from remote locations and without the constraints of mainstream media.
How do you use Twitter?