© 2016 ashleym

The Journalistic Power of Twitter

As my previous post stated, it is the responsibility of a journalist to stay up to date with social media trends as it is an essential component to a successful career within the journalism field. Twitter, therefore, should be a vital tool for every journalist as it can be utilized in a multitude of ways. From interacting with readers to using the popular social networking site as a marketing tool, Twitter contains a significant amount of importance for journalists.

A journalist in any field should try to build a following, which is made easier through social networking sites. Twitter, in particular, gives users the opportunity to reach an audience through their thoughts, although tweets are limited to 140 characters. Trained journalists can use this to their advantage by using the site as a way to publicize their story. For instance, tweeting a “teaser” blurb that entices followers, this creates further traffic to a journalist’s story and increases the chances of a story becoming viral. Furthermore, by interacting with followers, a journalist can seem much more personable to their readers in order to sustain a steady following. This also allows readers to put the journalist’s face to a name.

As this article by Ann Handley suggests, the similarities between journalistic writing and the fundamentals of Twitter make it easy for a reporter to manipulate the site to his or her advantage. For example, journalists are taught to make their stories as concise as possible. Given that Twitter only allows 140 characters within a tweet, composing an outgoing message can sometimes be challenging. However, reporters are familiar to this as they often have to deal with word counts and space issues when writing an article. Additionally, the inverted pyramid style of writing calls for the essential information at the forefront with supplementary details included towards the end of the piece. When using Twitter, it is also a good idea to lead with the most interesting information in order to conserve space and attract readers. As such, it seems as if journalists can easily adapt to using Twitter as it takes a certain skill set that is already developed through the basics of journalistic writing.

Twitter is a great tool for all journalists as long as it is used correctly. Many people in the public eye fall victim to tweeting an ignorant message that can never be erased. Journalists should be reminded that everything posted online is final, and the wrong tweet can potentially end a career.


  1. Posted June 23, 2016 at 7:45 am | #

    I like how you addressed the challenge of condensing a tweet into 140 characters. Journalists and anyone with something important to say via Twitter has to grab their audience in 1-3 sentences or their content will be skipped and overlooked. When we post announcements of our blogs to twitter each week, we are practicing summarizing the most important information of our post, as well as drawing our followers into what we have to say.

  2. Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:18 am | #

    I definitely agree that it’s up to the journalist to keep up with social media trends as it’ll most likely enhance their work and more importantly gain traction for the new wave of journalists coming into the field. I discussed some of the same advantages of Twitter as you so I can again agree that self promotion and networking allows the journalist to gain a following as well as reach out to others alike in the field. As Caitlin pointed out, mentioning the character limit and talking about how to actually utilize it instead of saying is a disadvantage is definitely a different way to look at it and make you challenge yourself when posting your work.

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