Twitter explosion

I’ve had Twitter in my view for a while. I joined early last year and decided to drop it when I realized I kept using my own children’s names in the feed. I decided to shut down that username. A few months later I joined back in and I’ve been stunned to watch how my little town in the middle of Missouri is just starting to catch onto Twitter. Not only have individuals joined Twitter, more local media is joining in on the fun as well. You can view my tweets by going to www.twitter.com/jenleereeves. You can view KOMU.com’s tweets by visiting www.twitter.com/komunews. There is a distinct difference between the two twitter accounts. Right now, I tweet about personal and professional things. I also talk to other Twitter members. For KOMU, I tweet with Twitterfeed which is a way to share your RSS feed on Twitter. Twitterfeed turns your URL into a TinyURL so it fits on the 140 character limit. A “follower” simply keeps up to date with the latest top news categorized stories from KOMU.com. I haven’t used it for anything beyond a simplified RSS feed. But I see a TON of potential for Twitter when it comes to delivering news to followers and possibly using the tool for reporters covering news out in the field. The field tweets could be used as direct pieces of information for Twitter followers but it could also be used for gathering up details in the newsroom.

A side tool called Hashtags can collect tweets that have a theme. If there’s a fire in Fulton, Hashtags would aggregate all tweets that contain the word #fultonfire. This would give the newsroom a simple way to keep up with the reporters who are out on the breaking news story. Heck, I wonder if we could use it to follow the reporters covering daily events. I haven’t tried it but I bet it would be an awesome way to keep an eye on the reporters without them feeling micromanaged.

I just realized I have babbled on and on about Twitter and I haven’t even explained it. Twitter is a site that collects your thoughts, status or links. It’s kind of like your Facebook status, but you can update it easily: from your computer (on the twitter ste, via IM or widget tools) or your cellphone. Actually, I update my Twitter and my Facebook profile at the same time. The twist: You must tweet within 140 characters. It’s a concise description of your life and thoughts. I love it. And apparently more and more people are loving it since a journalism student was rescued from jail in Egypt.

Then an extra interesting thing happened. Today, one of my local newspapers decided to follow my Twitter stream. I think that’s interesting. It’s a way to promote the fact that they have the Twitter stream, but it also affiliates the paper to every person who is followed. I purposefully chose not to follow people on Twitter because I didn’t want to appear to pander to the Twitter community. That makes me wonder. Did I make the right choice? Once I knew the local paper had a Twitter stream, I decided to follow them because I’m just curious what they’re up to. But I’d love to hear from those of you out in the interweb? What is the polite or appropriate way to “pimp your site” on Twitter? Is there a right way?

I love this stuff.

2 comments ↓

#1 David Farre on 05.13.08 at 7:39 am

Hey Jen! David at the Tribune here. (I think “One of my local newspapers” = me. Am I right?)

When I set up the Twitter account for the Tribune I searched for people in Columbia, Mo., and followed them. You are correct that I did so to alert them to our feed, but once I did so I realized it could also turn out to be a source of information for us down the line.

So, that explains that.

Here’s a question I’m grappling with. I’m only twittering our lead story and sometimes our most popular story. I find other news Twitter feeds to be too overwhelming. I don’t want Twitter to be a copy of the RSS feed. I think, for now, that just Twittering the lead story is the right way to go.

I wonder if I made the right choice about that.

#2 Twitter making a difference — Jen Reeves - New Media Mind on 02.11.09 at 10:54 pm

[…] River Crash should help prove it as a useful journalistic tool. (By the way – here’s my first post on Twitter to prove that I’ve been obsessed about this stuff for a […]

Leave a Comment