01 May 2008

Top Uses For Twitter

ReadWriteWeb (RWW) is beating a drum in support of journalists using Twitter and offers four examples of how it can be used effectively.

The writers at RWW believe the free microblogging platform, where posts are restricted to 140 characters, can be useful in the field of serious journalism.

In fact, the team asserts that short messages on Twitter “have proven wildly useful for some writers penning larger pieces”.

So here are their four examples of how Twitter can be used effectively by journalists:

* Finding breaking news

According to RWW, the tool is so easy to use that users will often make a quick post about something they’ve just discovered on Twitter before putting information on a blog.

“Whether it’s natural disasters, political developments or breaking tech news - it’s common to discover items of interest first on Twitter."

* Interviews

RWW writers have used Twitter as a public interview tool, putting up questions in the hope that some interesting responses can be used in articles.

And they say they have got replies from high-profile industry figures and a diverse range of people.

“By putting out single or multiple questions into our Twitter networks in a call-and-response fashion, we’ve gathered piles of rich research in far less time than it would have taken to try and call people on the phone.”

* Quality Assurance

Via Twitter, RWW writers receive feedback on stories pointing out any content errors or linking failures and they also use the site to get help with minor technical queries.

“There’s a general sentiment of giving on Twitter, but a journalist’s opportunity to perhaps provide later coverage can’t help but further incentivise people to provide help.”

“If you had 20 to 50 people that consistently offered feedback on your articles, wouldn't that be great? That’s what it feels like we get on Twitter.”

* Promotion

RWW says promoting sites or blogs via Twitter is “probably the crassest way a journalist can use the medium”.

However, RWW will post links to its own articles if they are particularly interesting or “add a little extra value to each link to our own content we send out”.

And writers will use Twitter to let people know what they’re working on for future articles.

Put all these uses together and RWW claims Twitter is a “remarkably good traffic driver”.

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