Journalistically speaking, there are pros and cons to all the platforms one can use. The use of social media is no different. When using media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, there are a few hazards that impact how professional these platforms may be. One of the main weaknesses to be mindful of is Twitter’s design for the perfect post.

Although a word count is common in the field, Twitter’s use of only 140 characters requires an attention to detail and word choice. For those who are not as experienced in concise writing, using abbreviations seems like the best option to make a strong tweet. Unfortunately an excess of abbreviations can change how the reader views the information. Too much shorthand and the tweet may look like a text message, not a professional post.

One of the best ways to see the potential in a professional social media account is to see how other journalists have been successful in the field. Wesley Lowery is a reporter for The Washington Post who has been able to use Twitter to tweet about issues from the events in Ferguson, Missouri, to the recent Orlando shootings.

Other resources to better understand how to use Twitter in a journalistic context can be found in a variety of articles on Mashable. Covering breaking news can be efficiently done using social media. One of the best types of news to report on this platform though would be sports and other live events.

Sports journalist Oliver Kay uses Twitter to discuss soccer games that are currently occurring. The live posts make it easier for those who are not watching the game to get updates on where the score is currently at.

Not every story needs a play by play update, but using social media can help journalists make stronger leads and headlines.

One thought on “Social Media and the Character Count

  1. Great point about the use of abbreviations. It is much better to stay professional and exclude words that could eat up too much of the character count. 140 characters may not seem like a lot, but if used correctly, it can be all you need to grab the interst and attention of your followers!

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