I have been discussing the relationship of Twitter and journalism a bit (see The New Twitter Journalism, as well as related: Is Twitter Speech, Text, or Something New?). Many others have touched on the topic and now Twitter, itself, is stepping in with its “Twitter for Newsrooms,” using the hastag #TfN. It writes that it offers resources to help with all stages of the reporting and publishing process.
There are four main sections: #Report, #Enagage, #Publish, and #Extra that includes their blogs. The Research section includes a strategy for search and suggestions for finding sources. We would recommend our partner Twortex for search as it uses some of the Darwin Awareness Engine™ technology to look at what is happening within Twitter. The Engage section includes tips on effective tweeting with examples from journalists
The guide has gotten mixed reviews from TechCrunch and Mashable. Mashable notes that Twitter may be preaching to the choir. They note that” it’s pretty likely that you’re well versed in Twitter if you’re on Twitter and reading something called Twitter for Newsrooms.” TechCrunch adds that the guide is, “a little bit obvious for anyone who uses Twitter on a daily basis. There’s no new info here, just tips on how to report, engage with other users and followers and how to use tweets in the process of reporting. But the fact that Twitter has launched an official guide for journalists is indicative of the impact of social media on the news.”
I think the last point is significant and I am sure that I will likely learn a few things. Here is what a few others wrote before the guide came out. Mathew Ingram posed an interesting piece, No, Twitter Is Not a Replacement For Journalism. He points out the concept of “news as a process,” He writes, “that instead of something that is produced by media outlets as a kind of finished product, an artefact of an industrial-style approach to the news, journalism now is an ongoing and somewhat messy process.” There are stories or rumors that then get refined over time. This refinement is where Twitter can play a key role.
Mark Colvin of ABC, in his post, Journalism's new wave: the world in a tweet, summarize two Twitter journalism tips. First, “If you're going to cultivate sources on Twitter, make sure you stay in touch with them, even when nothing's happening. Show them you care about them as people, that they're not just a story - develop a relationship, just like journalists have always done.” This makes a lot of sense.
Second, “Read many different news sources. If you're not really across the news, Twitter feeds will just look like random chatter, and you won't be able to judge what stories are the most important to focus on.” This is where the Darwin Awareness Engine™ can help as it did with PBS.
On a deeper level, the Neiman Labs blog post, Is Twitter writing, or is it speech? Why we need a new paradigm for our social media platforms, concludes that “our text-ordered world is resolving back into something more traditionally oral — more conversational and, yes, more ephemeral. ‘Chaos is our lot,’ Clay Shirky notes; ‘the best we can do is identify the various forces at work shaping various possible futures.’ One of those forces — and, indeed, one of those futures — is the hybrid linguistic form that we are shaping online even as it shapes us… A paradigm we might call “Twitter." It is this more conversational nature that allows for the refinement of news that Matthew discusses. We would only add that the concept of awareness is a natural complement to this view of the medium of Twitter to see how the refinement is progressing.