Twitter 101 for Journalists

Twitter – a social networking and microblogging service launched in 2006.

Twitter Lingo
username – Twitter alias
tweet – a message on Twitter, maximum of 140 characters
follow – selecting users to follow
reply or respond using @username
retweet – repost a message sent by another user, often marked with RT
hashtag – identify a subject trending on Twitter using #. Hashtags make it easier to group or search for tweets on that topic.
To save space shorten URLs –

Third-party Tools – more than 50,000 applications use Twitter’s open API
Twitpic – lets users share photos on Twitter in real-time
Tweetdeck – browser for integrating social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, FourSquare, etc
Twitterfeed – automatically post the content of your RSS feed in their Twitter feed
Nearbytweets – locate Twitter users in a geographic area

Twitter’s Journalism Debut
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were more than ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city, by Muslim terrorists from Pakistan. It lasted nearly three days, killing at least 173 people and wounding at least 308. People used Twitter to report news from the scene. Reporters used Twitter to track developments, find sources, and report the story.

See Hash Mumbai YouTube Video

News On Twitter
BreakingTweets – International news, Twitter-style
MediaOnTwitter – A searchable database of journalists and media on Twitter
Muck RackAggregates tweets from selected media professionals and organizations
Tweet Meme LeaderboardA list of the top 100 news sources on Twitter ranked by popularity

Ideas for Beginning to Use Twitter for Reporting
-Set up a Twitter account for your beat/blog separate from your personal account. Add it to your blog widgets.
-Track your news niche – Follow 50 people/organizations related to your topic.
-Develop sources.
-Generate story ideas.
-Share your work.
-Ask for feedback.
-Connect with “people formerly known as the audience”
-Develop your own style/tone/strategy.

Resources to Get You Started
Top 7 Twitter Tutorials on YouTube (Mashable)
Innovative uses of Twitter in the newsroom (
25 Tools for getting more out of Twitter (
Considering the ethics of using Twitter for journalism (Poynter)

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