Recently there have been about a half dozen blog posts about Twitter as a potential tool for newsrooms. Most recently, Steve Outing wrote about the idea of City Desk editors using Twitter to cover breaking news. Other pieces cover a variety of related ideas and are listed below, in case you haven’t read them yet.
While I’m not necessarily saying that you have to read any or all of these pieces, I do want to say something about Twitter:
Try it. It will cost you nothing. You will lose nothing. There is no reason not to.
Excuse my outburst, but I find it necessary. I’m afraid that because the spirit of experimentation has been replaced in so many cases with concerns over ROI, too many newsrooms won’t try out this tool.
I really believe that Twitter offers newsrooms some great opportunities. For example you can:
- Push out an RSS feed from your site and post an automatic tweet every time you publish a new story.
- Synch your Twitter account it with your site’s SMS service and have it tweet every time you send a new text message.
- Use a service like Twittergram/Phone to offer nearly-instant interviews.
- Let your readers know when a new photo gallery is posted or a new video is available.
- Share the entries you make on sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon or del.icio.us.
While I could keep listing possible uses, it all comes down to you trying it — as the saying goes “you’ve got to be in it to win it.”
If the fact that Twitter is a free site doesn’t entice you, how about the fact that Twitter is crawled by search engines thus providing your site additional exposure or how about the fact that Twitter can even help with your page rank?
Don’t want to just take my word, then how about the word of one of these people?? Here’s a round-up (in no particular order) of what’s been written about Twitter:
Steve Outing – “How about a Twitter City Desk” or “The Twitter Disaster”
Amy Gahran, Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits – “Live Mocroblogging: What I’m Learning”
Jail Lail, Random Mumblings – Assorted relevant posts
Marshall Kirkpatrick – “Twitter is paying my rent”
Poynter.org – “Experimenting with Twitter: How Newsrooms Are Using It to Reach More Users”
Poynter.org – “Newsies Twittering on Twitter”
Les Jones – “Twitter, Blogging, and Live Journalism”
Doug McCaughan, Reality Me – “What are you doing with your phone?!“