Anyone who knows me, knows my hesitance to use social media for journalistic purposes. I would call myself, an “old school journalist,” relying on the value in the print publication. This being said, I do have a twitter account and do tweet live during football games. Even though I’ve done it, I was still hesitant about it. Something changed today when I was in the session today about twitter and live blogging. I learned how to use social media effectively for our newspaper. The session was hosted by Robert Quigley, the Social Media Editor at the Austin American-Statesman and Stephen Keller, the managing editor at The Daily Texan.
The most important ideas I learned was ways to get readers and viewers more involved. On twitter you can ask people what they want to see and what they want. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, but you can gather ideas from the public. I think this is an idea that is grossly underrated as journalists. We think we know the best ideas and that’s the end of it. In reality everyone around us can contribute something.
The main quote and concept that stuck out to me was: “As newspapers on Twitter, you can debunk rumors and provide fact.” Quigley outlined a situation in the spring where people were tweeting about a possible hostage situation at the bar. Quigley continually verified facts with the reporter throughout the night and provided the public with the factual information and was able to attribute his posts to police reports, not just eyewitness testimonials. Witness reports are unreliable but can be valuable. The example they gave was in regards to weather reports. Last December there was snow in Austin and people sent in Twitpics. These pictures were then posted on their multimedia part of the Web site.
I learned how to tweet effectively for The Pendulum. It is not necessary to tweet every single story or always provide links with it. I think this is a great idea. In addition, the tweets should have a voice. It should not always be the headline and story. Followers will respond better when interesting anecdotes are stories are told.
I’m excited about all the ideas I learned in this session in order to make The Pendulum’s social media more effective for our followers.
– Pam Richter