..one of my favorite rites of fall, Beloit College’s Mindset List. Before school starts each September, Beloit Professor Tom McBride along with the college’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief trot out a list of social and experiential realities that have shaped the lives of incoming college freshmen. The list is meant to give educators insights into the mindset of their students so there can be more productive classroom learning and dialogue. The list is not only instructive for college professors, it’s also useful for businesses, advertisers, marketing executives, and yes, even news organizations.
Updated and expanded Twitter tips for journalists
Someday Twitter tips will seem as unnecessary for most journalists as notebook tips. But in the past few weeks, Steve Buttry notes, “I have encountered several journalists who were not using Twitter yet. A couple just within the last week asked my advice, so I decided to update my tips for journalists using Twitter, originally published in July 2009.”
Here is a sampling:
Breaking news is probably where Twitter shows its greatest value again and again. When news breaks in your community, you can connect with sources and gather information in a variety of ways:
- If you’re following lots of people in your community, you may see tweets from some eyewitnesses or some people feeling the impact.
- You can use Twitter’s Advanced Search to search for keywords that might be likely to pop up in tweets about the breaking story, such as “flood,” “tornado” or “crash.”
- You can use Twitter Search to find hashtag discussions already forming around the event, again trying different keywords. You can save searches for a keyword or a hashtag as a column in TweetDeck or HootSuite or as a saved search in your Twitter account (searches are a column on the Twitter home page).
- If you jump on a breaking story quickly, try to promote a hashtag that others will pick up. If the hashtag catches on, you will see tweets from people you aren’t following. NewsOK.com promotes #okstorm during bad weather.
- As you find tweets indicating that people have first-hand experience with the story you are covering, reply to them (or direct-message them, if you follow them), asking them to call you directly for an interview.
- Search also for photos posted on services such as Twitpic or Instagram. Ask people for permission to publish their photos
- Use NearbyTweets or advanced Twitter search to see what people near the news site are tweeting.
- Feed a hashtag or some feeds of people witnessing the news into your blog or story, using CoverItLive, ScribbleLive or a Twitter widget that feeds them in automatically or using Storify to curate the best tweets or to group tweets by topic or weave them into a story.
- Embed individual tweets or a group of tweets into a story using QuoteURL or Blackbird Pie.
One of the goals of COPY POINT is to dispose of overused words and hyperbole. I’ve just uncovered another one spreading faster than a pandemic. The word is nasty. These are some of the many ways we have used it in the past 30 days:
Nasty Flash Flooding
Nasty consequences (Debt Ceiling)
Nasty Spill (on shirt)
Nasty Surprise (lottery ticket)
Nasty Sore Throat
Nasty Spring(the entire season)
Nasty Road conditions
Nasty Start (holiday accidents)
A good half of these don’t fit any dictionary definition of the word,
1. physically filthy; disgustingly unclean: a nasty pigsty of a room.
2. offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
3. offensive; objectionable: a nasty habit.
OTNB IDEA: How about “storms packing 69 mph winds, a sore raspy sour throat, icy road conditions, unwelcome surprise..”.
Adjectives can add to understanding in a story, or clutter our copy. Let’s re-commit to precision of language and temporarily put “nasty” on hold.
Anyone watching television these days must be asking what happened to WHEN. Somewhere along the line television headline writers forgot that we need to know when something happened.
You’ve heard it:
“A Homeless man dies in a fire in Murray.”
“Golfers get Quite a Surprise when a plane lands on the ninth green”.
“An Earthquake Rocks the Philippines” we are told a full day after the event.
Now I know no one is deliberately trying to deceive the viewers, but we are creating more news-speak. Our attempts to improve our writing by making it more active and immediate are a great concept, but our results miss the mark.
Adding to the problem is that we then revert back and tell the rest of the story in past tense. If you watch FOX NEWS, they sometimes manage to get all three tenses of a verb of being in one sentence.
A long-time friend of mine Scott Libin at Poynter used to offer this suggestion for breaking the habit. Try talking that way to somebody in person and see what kind of funny look you get. “Come to think of it,” he says, “that’s probably the way a lot of people look at their televisions while the news is on.”
Struggling with Twitter names and hashtags for one of my projects and came across this today. I recommend it.
Over at oneforty.com they are singing the praises of Twitter. And, you need to pay attention to what they are saying:
Even in 2011, there are many people who are hesitant or skeptical regarding the use and benefits of Twitter. I shake my head and “sigh” at these folks. Twitter, although simple to begin using (such as tweeting, retweeting, hashtags, etc), is not so simple to finesse and engage with. It takes time and effort to get the art and science balance of Twitter and its benefits. But when used correctly, brands (whether personal or companies) can truly increase their marketing efforts. Thus, it is not an app that is going to go away anytime soon…face it folks, Twitter is still here and you should take the time to embrace it. And here’s why…
1. Customer Service: Like the idea of instant customer service in real-time? Who doesn’t?
2. Targeted element: Rather than reaching out to the mass media and just Tweeting to no-man’s-land…Twitter helps people target who they’re talking to.
3. Open vs. closed: Certain platforms are good for some things and others are better for other things. But the way Twitter is set up, it’s very easy for businesses to have a conversation with customers but still drive traffic to their site and take the conversation and activity elsewhere.
4. Building Relationships: Unlike those who just Tweet stuff about themselves, Twitter can be a great vehicle to build relationships with both potential and current consumers.
5. All the cool kids are doing it: When a social media tool goes beyond brands and trendy people using it, that’s when it causes a real stir.
Eds. Note: Read the entire post here. This is not my work and all credit goes to: http://oneforty.com/blog/5-reasons-why-twitter-is-not-a-fad/
mashable.com – Last week, we predicted that the Royal Wedding would be the number one trending topic this time around. And we would have been right, if not for a bit of news that broke last Sunday.
The shots that took down Osama bin Laden were shots heard ’round the Twitterverse. A mind-boggling record of 12.4 million tweets per hour (5,106 tweets per second around the time of President Obama’s speech) helped to place all topics connected to the biggest news story of the year at number one this week.