Let’s Talk Twitter at RTNDA!

I’m preparing for a big presentation with two of my former colleagues at the Radio-TV News Directors Association meeting in Las Vegas. Dr. Bill Silcock of Arizona State University and Kelly D. Hicks from KCTV5 in Kansas City will join in on the fun. We hope to introduce Twitter to people who may have heard about it but haven’t taken the step to use it.

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:

Back in the saddle again

After an intense week at SXSWi, a very sick child, a death in the family and Spring Break where I needed to give my elementary school-aged son attention (he deserves that from time to time)… I’m finally back to blogging about journalism and technology. I’ve found a constantly growing interest in social networking from local businesses, organizations and media outlets across the country. I love talking about it. I love writing about it. I really do think we’re on the cusp of a new way of communicating and sharing.

What I also found from all of these talks and discussions is how everyone would love to have a picture of what the future looks like. I wish I had that answer. But I’ll give you a few ideas.

Forget everything you know now and watch it become more organic. The information you want will be at your fingertips online or on your cell phone (or whatever the future of a phone looks like). You get to choose how you get all information. Video on demand, feeds of information, photos, conversations. You pick when you want it and you learn about new developments on your own terms. I envision journalists to be the people who help you take all of those pieces of information and get more context behind them. If you are interested in a new business in town, you’ll hear and read what other people you trust are saying and you’ll go to the journalism source to give you the history of the building, the owners, the food and the restaurant’s safety history (if its been around long enough). We’ve all had to make a conscious choice to be informed or uninformed – It will be so much easier to be informed. But it will also be much easier to be informed on your own terms. You’ll have to reach out to make more sense of it all. You’ll have to make a choice to confirm the information you gather.

I talked to a reporter at the Baltimore Sun about how the Baltimore Police are using Twitter to announce shootings and other illegal activity in the city. The reporter told me how she wondered if people who read that Twitter feed will think they’re fully informed about the city’s activities. I told her that at first people will think they’re informed. (It’s novel! It’s transparent!) But after a while, they’ll want more. Hopefully they’ll look to the local newsrooms to help provide more background from those 140 character alerts. The trick: The newsrooms need to be paying attention to where people are gathering their own personal information. The newsrooms need to take those sources and provide a deeper understanding to they continue to be an important part of informing the public. That’s always been the goal of journalism – And I truly believe that will never go away.

Twitter for Jurnos Part 2

At the request of some of my blog/Twitter followers, here’s the second part of my Twitter webcast from earlier this week. Have fun and please leave comments and thoughts.

If you want to sit down and watch part one, go here.
If you want to see my notes on Twitter basics, go here.

And now… Part two:


My attempt at helping journos learn Twitter

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.

UPDATE: You can go here to watch part 2 of the webcast.

Talking Twitter

I’m planning to speak about Twitter journalism during a lunch time webcast and Missouri School of Journalism brown bag session today. (If you are in Columbia, it’s in the forum on the second floor of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at noon) It should be a lot of fun. If you can’t attend, I’ve written up my notes right here. If you can attend, those are just notes. I’m going to show more examples and field questions from the audience. It may be a packed house. It may not. If you are interested in watching, feel free to visit the RJI website to see the streaming video.

I promise to post the video here as soon as I can get my hands on it. Have fun!

UPDATE – if you go to the RJI website, just click on the “RJI Live” link to the left. And if you want to join in on the Twitter conversation before, during and after the event, please use #tweettalk as the hashtag!

Introducing new ideas… without sounding crazy

I am one of the younger faculty members at the Missouri School of Journalism. I’m also a bit energetic.

Okay. I have a lot of energy.

So when I present the faculty with a new idea or a great concept… Some of them tune me out because they assume they won’t understand what the heck I’m talking about. I get excited about new ways journalists can share information. I get really excited when journalists are only a piece of the news gathering process. I get super excited when life is simplified with the help of technology.

So after enough professors and students asked… I’m putting together a presentation on how journalists can use Twitter next Monday. I’d love to hear the ways you use Twitter so my presentation isn’t JUST my ideas. There are so many different ways, it would be wonderful to get input from places beyond my world so I can prove that I’m not the only person who thinks Twitter is a helpful tool. So please leave comments here or on Twitter or even on my Facebook page if we’re friends. I would love links and stories about successes and failures when it came down to journalists using Twitter. Thanks!!

Twitter making a difference

I don’t seem to write much about things without throwing Twitter into the topic line — I’ll work on that since there are SO many interesting developments and discussions that I’m involved in these days as we try to create a new future for journalism. But first I need to mention my pet project that reaches its conclusion tomorrow night: The worldwide Twestival celebration. (The image above shows a map with many locations for the event) Here’s a little bit about what it’s all about:

I jumped into this project to try and have a productive reason for Twitter users who live around Columbia, MO to get together. I announced it over Twitter and eventually on Facebook as well. We could have as few as 25 people in attendance (27 if you count my two children who will attend with us) and as many as 50. The location was donated, the food, fun stuff like a projector and screen, music and a Wii. It will be fun. The whole point is to raise money for charity:water. I didn’t know much about this organization until I helped put this event together with the Twestival organizers. Each location got its own blog and support in setting up services that help you collect funding. Services like Amiano and TipJoy. These are tools I would have never known about without joining this experience. We plan to have a webcam up so you can see the fun from the LiveEarth site. Many people will tweet the event using the #CoMoTwestival hashtag. I hope to take pictures if I can. 

I participated in the twitter chatter behind Poynter’s NewsU introduction to Twitter for journalists. They created a wonderful page that explains Twitter for Journalists. I hope newbies will check it out. There’s also a really nice collection of links on this delicious page. With all of this talk about Twitter, I recently set up a date to give an introduction of twitter to the general journalism school: March 2. I’ve had so many people interested in this tool, I hope I can break through the stoic disbelief and really show how it can be helpful for journalists. Tomorrow I’m certain it will show that it can make a difference and reach the Twestival organizers’ goal of raising $1 million. News events like Mumbai and the Hudson 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 while)

“Forced” Twitter Use

Here I go again… Talking about Twitter. But I just got involved in a really interesting conversation on Twitter that I think is worth bringing to this blog (Thanks to Scott Hepburn’s encouragement). I’ve been on Twitter a while — I obviously blog and speak about it a bunch. I also like to share how to use it as a journalist. I haven’t mastered all of the answers. But I do think a personal relationship with your followers on Twitter helps you gain a personal relationship with people who live in your news market. If you’re transparent, you can gain story ideas, access to developing news and a way people know they can reach you.

The Twitter talk has grown recently at the Missouri School of Journalism. I’ve added it to my class. I encourage my students to get their own personal account to start playing around in there. They have a new outlet to build a personal online identity as they get closer to entering the job arena. I also ask them to use it by keeping up with what people are saying who follow KOMU and use it to post information about what we’re covering or post breaking news.

I started going on a rant on Twitter about student journalists who get forced to use the site. I saw a number of new members of Twitter who followed me recently complaining that they’d been forced to use Twitter. And I guess I got all up in arms because I worry about reporters who start using Twitter because they “have” to. That leads to situations like when a news reporter tweeted during a 3-year-old’s funeral. He could have made that work if he had been more sensitive. But if you read the posts, you realize that he didn’t understand the personal conversation you have using this tool.

The conversation went on and on. Somehow I even got Ana Marie Cox – formerly of Wonkette – to tell me she found Twitter on her own and was never forced to use it. My little rant got a lot of people talking about why should journalists be on Twitter (I’ve ranted on that before) and is it right or wrong to get forced into it. Then a number of people started sharing great tips. Howard Rheingold shared his favorite links about twitter. Cecelia Hanley shared her experiences: “@jenleereeves I usually use @gazettefood for work related tweets, and I follow other bloggers & papers. Great way to spot trends to localize.” Jenn Jarvis over at KWWL-TV said she joined Twitter to be able to reach lawmakers. Twitter seemed to be the only way to reach them when they were in session. Many, many others talked about how Twitter is a great tool to help boost your career or get your name out there.

Some professors told me how they are “forcing” their students to tweet… And it seems to be working out fine. My husband (@newsmonkey8 on Twitter) says I’m worrying about something that is just plain silly to worry about. But I’m just going to say this before we keep this conversation rolling: Twitter is a wonderful tool for journalists as long as we use it responsibly. If enough newsrooms force reporters, producers, editors and managers to use the tool without really understanding its potential, Twitter users will turn away from us. They will ignore us. For now, journalists can offer an insider view of the news on Twitter. I would love to keep that excitement rolling.

A good cause… And a chance to meet

I was working my way through Twitter when I discovered a worldwide event where Twitter users around the world are raising money for an organization that digs wells for third-world communities. I thought it was a wonderful idea AND Columbia, Missouri has never had a tweet-up. You know, a face-to-face meeting when Twitter users meet in person.

So I jumped at the chance. So far we have a location and a few people willing to donate some stuff. We may not be able to raise a ton of money, but I think it’s cool to have a reason to meet up and help an organization. Who knows what will happen. I’ve put an RSVP widget to the right hand side of my blog — so if anyone wants to attend, let me know!

Twitter Breaking News Again

A plane down in the Hudson River. Who has the first photo? A member of Twitter, Janis Krums, uploaded his picture onto Twitpic. Amazing. So amazing that MSNBC and CNN had the photo on the air almost immediately. So amazing that Twitpic crashed and others started sharing the photo onto Flickr. This is fascinating to watch.

CNN interviewed Krums only 30 minutes or so after he posted this photo.

Here’s a collection of great links (I’ll update as I go):

Yahoo News Photo Collection
Flickr Photos from: kidraerae
Flickr Photos from: grego!
BBC article about the role Twitter played in the coverage of the accident

Janis Krums wrote this blog about his Twitter fame.

Here’s the picture on the front page of the LA Times.