Twitter Basics – Building Blocks for Journalism

In Marshall Kirkpatrick’s How We Use Twitter for Journalism, one benefit of journalists using Twitter is to self-promote: “Twitter is a remarkably good traffic driver to our posts.  A healthy little group of people click through our links on Twitter, some more via FriendFeed and they often give us great early feedback.” The ability for others to quickly access articles is every journalist’s dream.

According to, Twitter is very popular instant messaging system that lets a person send brief text messages up to 140 characters in length to a list of followers.” Twitter is so much more than just writing 140 meaningless character tweets, however. For journalists, it is a vital tool that allows them to quickly and conveniently offer their opinions to followers — much more convenient than through columns or articles for instance.

Because most things in the world today are accessible through the world wide web, it only makes sense for journalists today to have Twitter accounts and to update them regularly.

For journalists to limit themselves to one or two mediums is potentially damaging to their careers because not only are they reaching out to a limited class of people, but they are also not taking into consideration the opinions of everyone else. As a journalist, you are supposed to care about your reader’s opinions and to keep them interested in what you have to say.

The neat thing about Twitter is the ability to personalize it, as I said in my video. Followers want to have a personal connection with their fellow tweeters, and they wouldn’t be able to do that with just a generic picture as their avatar. You’d be surprised at how many people I’ve refused to follow all because they don’t have a legitimate picture set as their avatar.

Twitter is an extremely easy medium for journalists to share breaking news or their opinions on issues that their community considers important. Journalists can promote their own work as well as the work of others, all the while gaining more followers for a larger fan base. Jason Preston of Eat Sleep Publish says, “Twitter is great for news, and there have been several cases where Twitter has established itself as the spot for breaking news.”