In less than two weeks, the new President of the United States brought back a social media outlet that was getting stagnant: Twitter.
I was one of the earlier users of the social media tool. I’ve documented how I’ve used it many times here on this website and in others places including AARP’s blog and YouTube channel. I’ve always seen why the tool is useful for communications. But through the years, I have watched as Twitter did not protect people whose careers and lives were threatened and at times destroyed with the help of anonymous, angry people. I watched many influential women and men stepping back a bit from using the tool because of intense attacks or threat of attacks.
But enter President Donald J. Trump. He has joined a list of public figures who have decided to use social media as the major platform to distribute information and opinion. Twitter reports there are 313 million monthly users. 79 percent of those users live outside the United States. About 38 percent of those users visit Twitter daily. With the current political climate, the number may be higher.
I watched a lot of new people join Twitter recently along with a lot of people who joined but never really used it. My Facebook stream was full of people asking for help as new users. That’s why I decided I wanted to share my years of Twitter use and Twitter trainings to more people. Tonight, I held my first of what may become many Facebook Live lessons. I figured Facebook Live would reach people who are much more comfortable in that space versus the less friendly-feeling world of Twitter.
Using a simple streaming tool, I shared a presentation from my Google Drive and toured Twitter live. It wasn’t perfect but I’m excited to get live lessons rolling. I hope to offer regular tips and tricks. I also hope I’ll hear from more new users with questions that help me tailor future lessons.
If you use Twitter, you’ve probably seen messages and tweets that don’t seem right. They include links with generic encouragements or shocking statements that make you want to click on the link. Recently, I’ve seen more and more people across Twitter with these type of messages. The most recent type of hacked accounts auto-send tweets to the people they follow. The messages look like this. (Take note: anytime I see a suspicious tweet, I let the person know so they can fix it as soon as possible.)
If you see any tweet or direct message that looks like this, donot click on the link. If you see a colleague or a friend with a similar tweet, it can’t hurt to give them the heads up that their account may be hacked.
If you think your account was hacked, go to Twitter.com on a browser (you can do something similar on your Twitter app if you only have a phone with you):
1. Log out of Twitter 2. Click “sign in” 3. Click “forgot password” 4. Type in the email affiliated with your Twitter account 5. Follow the steps in your email to create a new password 6. You should be back to normal.
If you were hacked and you sent out public tweets with bad links, it can’t hurt to acknowledge your account was hacked, apologize and feel free to delete any tweets that include hacked messages. That will help prevent others from clicking on the links.
You can also add an additional layer of protection to your Twitter account if you’re willing to connect it to a phone. Here’s how:
1. Go into your Settings on Twitter.com 2. Click on the “Security and Privacy” link on the left-hand side 3. You can choose two options to protect yourself from someone else logging into your account: a. Send login verification requests to your cellphone b. Send login verification requests to your Twitter phone app 4. This will help verify you are the real account owner looking to change a password on your account. All of these steps will help better protect your use of Twitter and prevent any of your followers from possibly clicking on a hacked link.
All of these steps will help better protect your use of Twitter and prevent any of your followers from possibly clicking on a hacked link.
There was a time in history not long ago when Twitter was new. Nowadays it so not new that it doesn’t even need a “T’ as a logo. Twitter updated its logo and made it just a bird. Heck, Twitter even made a pretty video about it:
I used to blog about Twitter all of the time. Interestingly enough, it’s gone mainstream in most parts of the United States… even in portions of the world. Funny. It still hasn’t really caught on in the middle of Missouri where I work. There is a committed group of people using it. There are lots of people who use it as a news and information feed. But where I work and deliver news, Facebook is so dominant.
Maybe because of my market’s use of Twitter, I’ve evolved in the way I use it. Maybe it’s because I follow 5700+ accounts. Maybe because I started too early in Twitter’s history and I haven’t been able to properly build lists. I don’t know. But the way I use Twitter the most is through hashtag-based conversations and conversations I or someone else initialized. I don’t get a chance to just scan the feed as much as I used to. I kind of miss those days. Actually… I have my old scan habits with the way I Instagram and Tumblr. I love keeping up with the people I follow and interact with photos and my Tumblr list is still small enough I can keep up with it. Lately I feel more personally connected to my IG family than my Twitter ones. And no, my market is not a heavy Instagram user just yet. But it has potential. It’s young. After almost five years in the Twitter space, it’s not growing rapidly for my news environment. I wish I could say better of it. Twitter was one of the first spaces I discovered online community around the world. I don’t plan to quit it. But I know it’s changed and I don’t know if it will ever be as much of a go-to network as it is in places like New York City and Seattle. I wonder how many other people feel this way.
I know Twitter will not be used by every person in the world. I’ve never expected that to happen. But for a very long time (search Twitter on this page, and you’ll see years of me bringing it up) I’ve felt the need to explain why journalists should use it.
I’m still talking about it… and not everyone believes me. Unfortunately, the more mainstream Twitter gets, the bigger mistakes people make when they take Twitter information and twist it around without even knowing they missed the point.
Here’s the perfect example… and it’s pretty terrible because New York Times journalist (who really knows her stuff around social media) Jennifer Preston was slammed by a conservative writer who claimed she was biased by retweeting a person running social media for the White House. Preston created a really helpful Storify that explains what happens: Continue reading →
I’m attending my third South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas for the next week. I’m lucky to have a job that helps pitch in on an expensive but incredibly engaging experience with tens of thousands of people who tend to think and interact in social media like I do.
So many people think like me that I had a realization today about this conference: SXSW is like a live Twitter experience.
Before you laugh, let me explain.
In Twitter, you can follow conversations and join in at any time. It’s a fun way to meet new people and share thoughts. It isn’t rude to interrupt. It’s common to just talk. That type of experience happens all the time at SXSW.
After I talked about the SXSW experience with a first-time-to-SXSW friend who traveled to Austin with me today, I had this big aha moment. We spent two hours in the car driving to the airport discussing the conference experience. By that point, I was in “SXSW mode” and caught myself randomly talking socially to someone in the bathroom as if I was already in Austin. There is this flow of conversation here that you can’t have anywhere else. It’s the ebb and flow of ideas that can course through every nerdy location across this downtown area.
I brought this up to a few people after I had picked up my badge and became and official conference attendee. They seemed to agree with my vision.
SXSW is a live Twitter feed. And if people I randomly talk to at this conference don’t like it… Well, they’re missing out on the core fun of this event! #SAST
A couple of weeks ago I met Travis Smith and Jamie Stephens for a cup of coffee and a conversation. It was a lot of fun. We sat down to talk about social media and the various tools we can use to communicate to our audience – be it a news audience or a customer audience. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is being “real” in a social space.
If you’re interested in listening to the conversation, check it out here.
I haven’t had the chance to blog a lot lately. That’s because I’ve been busy trying to renew and rethink the way KOMU8 News and KOMU.com delivers news to our audience. A big part of that has hovered around using Twitter as an effective news delivery tool for general assignment reports.
It all started back in March when I was at South by Southwest Interactive Festival. I had an opportunity to see a demo for CoTweet. It helps multiple people manage the one Twitter brand at the same time. To me, this sounded like heaven. The program not only helps multiple people tweet at the same time in an organized manner, it also sends you email alerts if your Twitter account gets any kind of mention. (In my newsroom’s case, that means I get an email anytime someone uses @KOMUnews in a tweet) I was very lucky to get access to the company’s private beta. That private beta moved into a public beta last week and that’s pushed me to make sure I wrote up my newsroom’s CoTweet process so others can follow the fun and possibly try it out themselves.
To remain extra transparent in how our newsroom uses Twitter, I collected the photos and initials of each CoTweet user and added their photos onto the side of our Twitter page.
Currently, the people who manage CoTweet with me are a mix of full time managers (our Executive Producer and Managing Editor) and part time web editors or newscast producers. I’m working on trying to blend in more of our traditional managers to look at ways to incorporate Twitter workflow into the daily news gathering and sharing process. CoTweet makes it easy to place each person’s initials public next to the Tweets they post on the @KOMUnews account. That helps Twitter followers know who is posting the information and it helps our brand become less vague. I got the Twitter image idea from the CoTweet folks. Their Twitter background looks very similar. (I just have many more people who are helping manage KOMU’s account)
We have many reporters in our newsroom, and I’ve decided to keep their online tweets separate from the @KOMUnews Twitter brand. I’ve asked each of the reporters to create their own professional Twitter accounts. (Professional means they use their real names and post legitimate information about their life and work in their Twitter profiles) As the reporters gather information from the field, I ask them to send tweets about their story with @KOMUnews or #komu included in the 140 character reports. CoTweet picks those up and my crew and I can decide if the information is good enough to share (or in Twitter lingo, we “retweet” reporter posts) on KOMU’s Twitter feed. We’ve recently published an internal handbook on how reporters should post tweets and how managers and keep up with CoTweet to share the best information on the KOMU brand.
Anyone who is “On Duty” will get email alerts to the @KOMUnews tweets. Anyone who is a member of KOMU’s CoTweet will be able to follow KOMU’s followers without knowing KOMU’s Twitter password, so that keeps only a small number of people privy to changing the look and settings of KOMU’s account, while many others can keep an eye on its content updates. CoTweet also makes it easy to email Twitter questions or thoughts to other members of our newsroom. If a viewer asks @KOMUnews a question, I can quickly email the question to a reporter or anchor to get their input. If that reporter or anchor is on Twitter, I ask them to reply on Twitter or using Twitter’s direct message function. It helps so many more people participate and actively keep KOMU’s Twitter account an active element in our newsroom.
The process isn’t perfect, but it’s helped us cover breaking news effectively. It has also helped our reporters share information about their reports throughout the day instead of just focusing their efforts towards our traditional 5, 6 and 10pm newscasts. After testing this process for the last month and a half, KOMU.com has launched a new look and it includes easy access to our Twitter feed. It doesn’t look pretty, but it is effective to give our most recent updates. It’s faster than posting information into our content manager. It’s faster than getting an anchor in front of the news desk to report on the air. It’s also helping open our minds to a new 24/7 process of news gathering and sharing. As I told a news director friend of mine last week: I’m not helping build reporters who report for newscasts, I’m helping build reporters who can report the news – whenever and however they need to report it.
One other thought about CoTweet: The company responds to your thoughts and questions. Any time I needed something or shared ideas on CoTweet’s site, I’ve gotten rapid replies and assistance. I think that’s pretty fantastic.
Please let me know your thoughts and if you need anything better explained about our newsroom CoTweet workflow. I’m happy to tweak this post to help make sure other newsrooms understand what I’ve been up to!
I think there are all kinds of different ways to use Twitter – I hope we can teach those who are interested the most efficient ways a newsroom and a journalist can use this tool.
What are ways you use Twitter for yourself as a journalist or for your newsroom/brand. I love hearing and knowing all of the many different ways. That helps me guide and teach future journalists how to think in as many directions as possible!
In honor of Las Vegas, I want to share a moment I experience on my flight as I arrived into town. One of our flight attendants happens to be an Elvis impersonator… And he and the rest of the crew put on a show. I was pretty far in the back of the plane – but I hope you can enjoy the fact that we got a performance and we lit up the aisle using the flight attendant alert lights.
UPDATE: The three hour presentation and one-on-one help time was awesome. I hope anyone who attended (or wish they had) will leave questions and comments here. The conversation doesn’t have to end with this session. To help with that, here’s the slides (and more that we never had time to show) from the presentation:
I held a brown bag session this afternoon over lunch to show how I use Twitter and why I think journalists should take a look at it as a new news source. It isn’t the end all be all answer to all of our challenges, but I do think it’s a change in how we gather and share news and information.
I loaded up the first half of the presentation… The second half included questions and answers and a little bit of show and tell. If you have questions or need some show and tell, leave a comment here and I’ll see if I can help get you started.
Here are the slides I used during the presentation just in case you’re curious. I ran through a few pretty quickly to get to the second half of the presentation.
All of my follow up notes to this presentation are a permanent link to the right of the blog called “Twitter Tips.” Please feel free to leave comments here if there are additional details that were missed.