Twitter began its journey as a humble social media idea and turned into an overnight phenomenon with a total of 163 billion tweets sent thus far. Although users are limited in 140 characters to express their thoughts or news, the sensational buzz is due to the fact that news generates faster and wider. The underdog now has a voice and a way to reach out to the mass audience. Celebrities and experts are now more reachable.
While news travels faster than the speed of light via Twitter, there are several dangers of tweeting breaking news. Karen Fratti warns tweeters to keep a wary eye on inaccurate information. Retweeting has been used as a journalism strategy, but it is not always accurate. Even though tweeting is easier done than said, practicing safe social media can help make or break the credibility of a journalist. Fratti encourages tweeters to monitor tweets and their own tweets to maintain credibility and accuracy.
As journalists, twitter can help get the story out faster and effectively. Mashable shares four Twitter secrets: name dropping is an effective way to grab attention and generate a bigger buzz, determine whether your tweet is objective or emotional, name the category, and finally share the news source. Using these secrets will help create more retweets and can lead to more media attention on the topic.
Erin Andrews and Hannah Storm are both respectively well known sportscasters who have become more popular through Twitter. Andrews and Storm have strategically used Twitter as one of their main delivery of sports news. I followed both of their tweets in the last 24 hours and noticed that their tweets coincide with the advice given by Mashable.
As journalists, it is important to connect with your audience. Even though Andrews and Storm have over thousands of followers, they take the time to respond to fans’ tweets as much as they can. The relationship formed between the public and the figure creates a more likeable public image. For instance, Storm responded to a fan’s comment which helped make her more relate-able as a person. Andrews retweeted the link about a young girl’s battle against cancer. While she retweeted to show support, she also helped inform her followers about this story and generate more awareness. To do their jobs as sportscasters, Storm and Andrews tweet about upcoming sports events, which now happens to be the Super Bowl. Storm informed her followers about the efforts she and others are putting in to prepare for live sports center shows. Andrews promoted her Super Bowl excitement using hashtags and talking about the commercials she won’t be able to watch because she’ll be reporting. One of the most common traits I noticed between the two sportscasters is that they both posted pictures along with most of their tweets. As a visually appealed person, these pictures helped make me feel like I was part of their day. I am confident to say that other followers feel the same way. Name dropping is also a big strategy. It indicates that each person has a connection or the tweet is connected to a big name which attracts more attention. There isn’t much difference between the two women, however I did notice that Andrews tends to use Twitter as a personal and professional social media tool. Storm strictly sticks to distributing sports news.
Twitter is a powerful social media tool, especially with spreading the news. Along with the tips and tricks offered by Twitter experts, it is also important to maintain professionalism and credibility. As Steve Fox advises, “think before you tweet.”