Blog 3: What is social media?

What is Twitter and how to use it on reporting?

Twitter is a social media platform that provides microblogging service for users, who can always interact with others through messages, known as “tweets.” Users can comment on their own tweets to post a thread.

Only one in five American adults use Twitter, according to Pew Research Center, “users tend to be younger and to have more education and higher incomes than U.S. adults overall.”

Although Twitter users are much fewer than Facebook users, Twitter is still one of the most popular sites among journalists due to “its chronological timeline of quick, 140-character bursts of information that instantly lends itself to breaking news situations,” said Sam Berkhead, an English and engagement editor for International Journalists’ Network. On basis of its specific feature, journalists always use this platform to report breaking news and live events.

Galen Bacharier is a reporter for Columbia Missourian

When reporting live events, journalists can shoot videos and pictures to attract more people to read their tweets. Here is a live event coverage done by me for J2150:

A live event coverage done by me last year

Meanwhile, like using other social media platforms, journalists also use Twitter to monitor the public’s opinions, build relationships and find story ideas, Cision’s content marketing specialist Katie Gaab said in a statement. More specifically, experienced journalists will interact with their followers regularly. The closer we can get to the public, the more ideas we can find from them. 

Also, experienced journalists not only promote their own works but also share excellent works on their beats done by other journalists. Therefore, their followers can know more about one specific area.

In addition, if you are a strategic communicator, it is essential for you to know the journalists’ habits on using Twitter to improve media relations.

Sources I use as reference in this blog:

  1. 10 facts about Americans and Twitter
  2. Social media for journalists: The basics
  3. 3 Ways Journalists Use Twitter as a Reporting Tool

Published by Lgao

NBC News Asia Desk Fellow Reporter

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