Read & Respond: Week 6

Note: This week’s readings are a bit of a slant rhyme with last, thanks to my inadvertent flipping of the scheduled online readings for microblogging and mobility. Read the assigned Briggs chapter and supplement it with the links below.

These readings have more to do with the idea of microblogging, but their on-the-go nature dovetails nicely with our previous discussion of mobility. First, what IS microblogging? Briggs lays out examples, but what does it mean to you? Here are 10 sites to get you started – some you’ll know, others are brand new. You probably realize now that this is something you already do, but how much a part of your life is the practice? Did it surprise you to learn you’ve been a microblogger for years?

Let’s talk about possibly the most widely known venue for microblogging: Twitter. First, a simple set of guidelines (from Twitter itself) for journalists and mass communicators using Twitter – start using these now. Next, a piece of research on how journalists use this tool (note: this is scholarly research, so SKIM down to the analysis and discussion – except grad students, who have to read it all). How significant are these changes in objectivity and other values? How do you understand the term “gatekeeping” (as used here), and what do you think of the changes it’s experiencing in a microblogging, social media world?

If you’ve been tweeting for a while, you know there’s an art to drawing responses, one that may still be frustrating you. You’re not alone. Check out these two pieces of tactical analysis: How to write “perfect” microblog headlines, and how to write “perfect” social media posts. As part of your response, I want you to apply some of these tactics to your posting. Experiment with time of day, wording, and posting at different times and on different platforms. Where did you see results? What form did they take? Views, likes, comments, retweets … what combinations might net you the interactions you desire?

As always, post your response a comment to this post by noon, Monday, September 23.

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41 Responses to Read & Respond: Week 6

  1. samanthacart says:

    Obviously, social media has made a huge impact on journalism, and it will never return to how it was. However, most interesting are the changes it has made on the demand for objectivity.

    Journalists have always been seen as gatekeepers. In grad school we have exhausted the topic of gatekeeping theory, which suggests that we are all gatekeepers, for others and ourselves, and that we filter and choose what information that is disseminated for publication, broadcast, Internet, etc. You utilize gatekeeping as a reporter when you decide which sources to use, as an editor when you decide which stories will run, and as a social media user when you decide which Tweets you will read or post.

    However, with the outbreak of citizen journalism, social media and blogging (anyone can publish!), everyone is a gatekeeper. Objectivity has not become obsolete, but less crucial. Social networking sites are first and foremost a platform for expressing opinions. In a world where journalists have to compete not just with each other, but with every other Twitter user to break a story, there is less stress on confirmation. If you received information from a reliable source about a breaking story in the past, you would normally do some fact checking and locate other sources before breaking the story on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. Today, it is more likely that a journalist would tweet the information, and then begin the hunt for the confirmation, more sources, etc. This is not only acceptable (because it feeds our society’s desire for constant news saturation), but it is encouraged. Readers and social media consumers are responsible for confirming their own information as much as journalists are (as seen in the many class examples Dr. Britten has provided). According to the study by Lasora, Lewis and Holton, journalists more freely express their own opinions in microblogging, which goes against the norm, as well as make their work more transparent. The life and sources of a journalist are no longer mysterious, but rather accessible by the public.

    Along with changing the norms for journalism and turning news upside down, social media and microblogging have also opened up a wealth of resources for journalists. According to Briggs, the tips, reactions and feedback found in a journalists’ newsfeed can be a “gold mine of leads to follow” (Briggs, p. 101). As more and more outlets migrate to online, the tips and story ideas come more often and faster.

    “The Perfect Tweet”

    The Social Media Report’s graphics gave great insight into when and how we should use each form of social media. While I have not made a habit (yet!) of promoting my blog on social media, I did try to use this information when posting to my blog this week. I found that the posts I published midday received more views that the ones I posted in the morning (around 9 a.m.) and the evening (3:30-4 p.m.). However, I know from experience that posts made between 1 and 4 p.m. on Facebook will received the most likes, shares, etc.

    I learned a lot from the Twitter blog post on how to make the optimal tweet. I was surprised that tweeting more often leads to more re-tweets, followers, etc. I thought people would find constant tweeting a turn-off. I also did not know that tweets are more likely to be re-tweeted if they incorporate hashtags than if they do not, and I am floored that asking for a re-tweet is likely to result in a re-tweet. That seems almost desperate to me.
    I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I find being a good and effective Twitter user difficult. I’m wordy, and the demand to be witty is a little intimidating. However, I do think I use Facebook effectively for all sorts of things: keeping in touch with friends, keeping people updated on my life, sharing interesting news stories and promoting events. I work in a dorm on campus, and social media is a huge part of how I promote programs going on within the hall. I never realized that I was a microblogger.

    The bottom line for Twitter and Facebook seems to be: more pictures and less words— even in posts without photos, which explains the success of Twitter over Facebook and my lack of success with Twitter.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Useful thoughts on gatekeeping. If there are no longer gates to keep, do journalists have a new job to replace that function? Regarding Twitter, it CAN be hard to edit yourself down to 140 characters (or, realistically, less if you want to be retweeted). Is it worth the effort?

  2. ebuchman5 says:

    After reading all of the assigned materials, I had actually never considered myself a microblogger until now. I consider microblogging as an online journal of sorts, being that people are able to post online status’ detailing what they’re up to, update their friends/others on life events, and to share news, photos, and other information via the internet. Personally, I could consider myself a regular microblogger (more on Twitter than on Facebook). I tend to use Facebook more for uploading photos and keeping in touch with my friends and family, and I use Twitter to chronicle my life and what’s going on, as well as reading news and staying updated with what’s happening in the world. I didn’t quite realize there was so many microblogging sites out there, as I only recognized two off of the “Top 10 Microblogging Sites” article we read.

    To be perfectly honest, I was surprised there are so many different sites out there, because I’m not sure what one would do that the others don’t. It doesn’t seem there are that many factors that can (or should) be changed from one platform to the other.
    Specifically as far as Twitter is concerned, I believe it’s smart for journalists to use this as a networking tool, as well as a tool to report the news they are covering in a minute-by-minute fashion. Certainly there are concerns of objectivity, especially because as journalists, we are taught to avoid putting our personal opinion into any work we do. In the scholarly research we read, the section on “gatekeeping” is very interesting.

    Journalists specifically can use Twitter as a way to include or exclude whatever information they see fit. They have the ability to link to stories and other information collected and written by other journalists (or to not, if they so choose). These types of activities on Twitter can really increase a journalists or news organizations credibility. As discussed in the readings, however, Twitter allows journalists to bypass traditional means of “gatekeeping” (like having to get a story approved by the section editor before it goes to print). Journalists are on the go, so there has to be a certain level of trust that news organizations place in their reporters to tweet from a scene without prior approval.

    Thanks to so many different microblogging websites and social media platforms, “gatekeeping” has changed tremendously. Journalists now have the opportunity to be more open with what they share. They have fewer restrictions and more options in terms of what they share, how they share, and when they share information because social media sites are available 24-hours a day.

    Each social media platform is different- when it’s used depends on what it’s used for and the demographic of people who use it. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to market to men on Pinterest, because this is predominantly a female-used website that offers fashion tips, food and craft ideas, and hair style ideas, just to name a few. In general, it makes sense to post on most social media platforms in the afternoon, when people are getting to work, and when they’re coming back from lunch, in order to maximize viewership. As long as you post something others are interested in—something they can relate to—Tweets, Facebook posts, and anything else, have the post potential to be shared, retweeted, etc.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I really like this phrase: “specifically can use Twitter as a way to include or exclude whatever information they see fit.” In a way, you’re suggesting a different aspect of gatekeeping, one that acknowledges readers can get the excluded info somewhere else, but THIS is what you’re getting HERE.

  3. According to Briggs, microblogging services allow users to publish brief text messages, usually no more than 140 characters, with links to other Web sites, photos, or videos. Briggs also notes that the ease of publishing, combined with the ease of consuming, has contributed to microblogging’s rapid growth. I’m always knew Twitter was a form of microblogging, but I guess I never really thought of it that way.

    The Twitter business practices were exactly what I was expecting. If you’ve used Twitter long enough, I feel like that information is common sense. However, I was interested to learn that tweets with hashtags followed by the subject or keyword can increase engagement by almost 100 percent. Obviously the point of hashtags are to connect people and facilitate conversations, but I had no idea it was this effective. Very interesting.

    I thought the research article on microblogging and traditional journalism was interesting, but not surprising. I follow many news outlets on Twitter, local and national alike. I’ve noticed more and more journalists using opinion in their tweets. More often than not, local journalists are more inclined to state their opinion. I’ve also noticed they don’t try and force their opinion on anyone. If anything it creates more discussion. Many journalists state their opinion on a matter and then ask the question to their viewers. Other journalists encourage conversation on topics by simply stating their opinion, waiting for viewers to respond and then tweeting, retweeting, and responding to the opinions of their viewers. I’ve even seen cases where viewers have changed or altered the opinion of the journalist. I think it’s a great thing that journalists are expressing their opinion. As long as they do so professionally, it creates conversation and also allows the viewer to identify with the journalist. By allowing viewers to connect with the journalist, it often builds a trust and relationship with the journalist that keeps the viewer coming back for more. I don’t think this necessarily changes journalism. Just because a journalist expresses his or her opinion online does not mean they express their opinion on the air. Objectivity can still remain on the air or in the newspaper. Twitter doesn’t take away objectivity it merely offers the opinion of one person. After all, is journalism objective today anyway? We’d like to think so, but that’s rarely the case. That being said, journalists do need to be aware to tweet professionally. There’s still a line. You can’t just say whatever you want, but I do think you should be free to express your opinion online. Twitter is a more intimate sharing platform than television or newspapers. People want to connect with the person giving them information. Twitter gives them a means to do that.

    The two articles about making perfect microblog headlines and perfect social media posts made some valuable points. The point in the first article about action verbs is a solid point. Just in my own Tweeting experience, people respond better to action or a call to action. Action verbs facilitate conversation and encourage it. I’m not sure how I feel about asking for a retweet. Personally, I HATE when people ask for retweets. I just get annoyed, however, the data is solid and you can’t argue that it doesn’t work, because it does. I also liked that the first article said to test your blog headlines on Twitter first. I’ve actually done this a few times before I read this article just out of curiosity. I thought the second article seemed more common-sense based than anything. I do, however, appreciate the point about using good grammar and punctuation on Twitter. Nothing makes me angrier than someone who uses bad grammar and punctuation on social media—especially if it’s something I want to retweet or share. I also appreciated the optimum timing for social media posts. I found it very helpful and a little surprising in some cases such as Pinterest primetime being between 8pm and 1am. I just found that odd. I played with some of the timing of these things and by tweeting my blog during optimum tweeting time, I was able to attract more traffic to my blog. I hit an all-time high in views the first day I changed the time I tweeted. Right before and after lunch time seems to be the most popular because people are getting ready for lunch or digesting. As a student, I’ve also found that evenings on Twitter aren’t as bad as the time table suggests. I think that’s a college student thing, however. Most of us are up late doing homework and what-not so I would thing this is part of the reason posts seem to gain popularity of an evening.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      You write “I HATE when people ask for retweets,” which interests me because that’s how I feel as well, yet the data seems to suggest otherwise. I wonder (perhaps there’s a thesis here) if there’s a different in who is doing the requesting? For instance, I follow Neil Gaiman, an author, who regularly retweets such requests from his followers, and I’ve noticed I don’t feel such ire when I see these – perhaps the source has an effect?

  4. iamoore says:

    To me microblogging is an immediate short form type of giving information. I never thought of myself as a microblogger but seeing as how I use Twitter and post statuses on Facebook I am contributing to my own microblog. After reading the tips to be better on twitter, I notice that my twitter use needs to incorporate much more retweets and hash tags. These are my two biggest weaknesses as a tweeter, I rarely use hash tags and hardly ever retweet.
    I find that this new technology which is leading j-tweeters to be more willing to share their opinion is bad for journalism as a whole. I believe that as journalists we have taken the role of gathering and disseminating facts to the public. We are not talking heads or ranters who should be providing our opinion on everything.(I do recognize the irony here stating my beliefs about how journalists shouldn’t state their beliefs). In this context I understand it to mean journalists are the means through which people can learn information relevant to them. Without us to open the gate they would have to do the work of gathering all the information by themselves. The way this idea of gatekeeping is changing is by spreading the responsibility of among your colleagues, by retweeting other peoples reporting you are allowing yourself and your colleague to both contribute to the individual learning this new information.
    After reading the two articles about how to write better for twitter and facebook, I have decided that I need to use more words that engage the audience, and use techniques like asking questions in order to encourage feedback. If people are asked a question they are more likely to respong to my posts than just making comments based on my thoughts. I noticed that i get the most amount of views when I post my content in the morning at around 10:30. For some strange reason my posts in the middle of the week seem to do better than those later and earlier in the week.
    While reading the Briggs chapter I decided that I lie somewhere very close to the middle of the spectrum between gearhead and light packer. I would not like to bring all of the equipment that is described for the gearhead, However I also don’t believe that everything can be done to its fullest ability with just a smart phone.I would like to have a Camera and Video Camera, but feel like some of the other stuff could be left behind for the sake of better mobility.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      So you’re a light gearhead?

      You write “I find that this new technology which is leading j-tweeters to be more willing to share their opinion is bad for journalism as a whole.” That’s an argument made by others in the field; Kovachs and Rosenstiel argue that our current 24-hour news cycle places less value on verifying facts than on getting every claim up for public discussion as soon as possible. But isn’t public discussion a good thing?

      • iamoore says:

        Public discussion is a good thing but I feel as journalists we must focus on presenting the facts with as little bias as possible, allowing the public to discuss it among themselves without leading them with our position of informational authority we find ourselves in.

  5. kevinmduvall says:

    Before this semester, I had not heard the term “microblogging,” but when it came up in this class (and my online class), I realized I was already familiar with it. Briggs describes microblogging as “an instant messaging journal,” compared to blogging as an online journal. He has several example; some are person-to-person, like text messaging and email, and others are person-to-crowd, like Twitter and other web posts. I’m surprised things like texting and email count, since they’re generally sent to one or two people and not intended for wide distribution. However, they might add up to part of a person’s “story” (people publish books of letters to and from famous people; emails could very well be next).

    Briggs’s thoughts are a pretty accurate description of how I use these media. Up to this point, I’ve primarily used Twitter to follow news sites and famous people and talk to friends than to participate in any creative process or try to use Twitter to advance my school and career interests. It’s a sort of diary of my thoughts, and if you look at my tweets together, you can see a timeline of things I’ve done. The same is true for my texts. If I went back and read old texts with friends, I can see how my relationships with them have developed over time.

    The founding from the journal article I found most important was that the journalists considered “elite” (those with the most followers) did not share opinions or allow users to participate in the news, and were less transparent. That finding did not surprise me, because the elite journalists do not need to do those things to attract followers. George Stephanopoulos will get followers because without Twitter, he is a famous political figure and news anchor, and ABC News is a proven brand; both the journalist and organization can spark interest with their names alone. Bloggers and other self-publishers cannot, so they need to engage followers directly to get their names out there and build their professional reputations.

    I always understood the media role of gatekeeping to be that media outlets decide what gets released to the public. I suppose retweeting, in this context, is a function of gatekeeping because it shows news outlets releasing information by retweeting other outlets (or individuals). This is likely a function of how media outlets are losing the power to “gatekeep” in the social media world. Access to widespread information is no longer limited to media elites, so the media have to include others in their newsmaking processes.

    I vary quite a bit on what and when I post on Twitter, and looking back through my interactions, I’ve notice a few tendencies. First, most of my tweets people favorited were posted during the day, which fits with the best times posted on the infographic. Second, most of the favorited tweets were on the short side, which follows the statistic that posts with 80 characters or less get 66% more engagement. It appears that even tweets can have the “tl; dr” effect on people. Third, people seem to use the favorite button much more often than the retweet. The only people who retweet my tweets are those who have an exceptional interest in Twitter; the rest just seem to use the favorite as the Twitter equivalent of a “Like” button.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      “Favorite” seems to have introduced an interesting wrinkle to Twitter, allowing appreciation to become more passive – easier, but not necessarily better for interaction. Your Twitter self-analysis has some good insights – we’ll talk about your “Twitter number” in class, but briefly it’s how long a tweet can be if you want it retweeted with your name and space for another’s comments. The “real” number is considerably less than 140.

  6. ryanfadus says:

    Microblogging is basically any form of social media where a person can express their own ideas in any way shape or form. While a simple may not be as long as a blog post it can still have an effective meaning with just a few short words or sentences. Since micro means small, it is just a smaller version of a personal blog. Sometimes they can be easier to communicate with people too since they reach a wider audience and most of the people you are probably talking to are your friends.

    When it comes to using Twitter and Facebook, I’d say I’m rather active on both. I post my opinions on certain issues and communicate with friends and family. I also post links to stories I’ve written for a sports site as well as other stories that I find interesting. As for microblogging for years, in a way I kind of knew and in another I hadn’t really thought about it too much. I knew the general practice of a blog was expressing your own ideas on a certain topic or issue, but even if it was just a few words or sentences that was categorized as a blog too. It is definitely a different way to look at things and it will be interesting to see if I pick up on this throughout the course after a few weeks or so of doing this assignment.

    With Twitter and Facebook taking over social media, journalists are able to access information faster than ever. While some of this information is just rumors at first after checking with the right people these rumors could turn into a big story. For example, if something big happens in New York and it has the potential to make national news and you are in California, then by contacting people in the journalism field there, you are able to gain probably more accurate information than if you were going off by what people said on Twitter and Facebook.

    When it comes to gatekeeping it is now harder than ever to keep certain things under wraps. Journalists can usually make a decision as to whether or not release certain information. With social media as soon as one person hears about it and talks about it is only a matter of time before everyone hears about it. It is a lot harder with social media to keep certain things from getting out since at some point the truth or the lie will usually come forward. Usually it is does across some social media platform.

    The last two articles gave some great advice on how to get more responses to my tweets. A few things I could probably do better is posting at a certain time of day and adding another element to my tweets. Much like I do for the blog, I think if I posted between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM then my tweets may get recognized a little bit more. This can be very useful especially when it comes to my articles I write for a sports site. Another thing I may want to incorporate is a hook to draw people in. This can be anything from asking a question, to even giving people a bit of a cliff hanger.

    Occasionally, my articles will be retweeted or talked about, but very rarely. When they do get some mention, the times vary as well as the time of the comments. For the articles it seems as though it is at people’s convenience for when they can read them. Another thing I have noticed is when a TV show like Breaking Bad ends and everyone is tweeting about it. By applying some of these ideas my tweets or posts could get more views, comments and retweets if I can make them more interesting.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      That point about Breaking Bad is useful. A distinct exception to those regular peak hours are times when there’s an event you expect followers to be engaged with (last night’s Emmys were a good example). We’ll be trying an exercise along these lines to see how this works, and how (if at all) interaction differs at these times from regular peak hours.

  7. karleapack says:

    Microblogging is basically a short and sweet alternative to normal blogging. This activity is vital in the technologically-based lives people have today, and is clearly affecting the future of journalism in a huge way. Popular sites for microblogging usually limit users to short entries, 140 characters, making it easier for those people who may be intimidated of lengthy blogging to post updates for others to read. Journalists benefit from these microblogging sites by easily posting a quick overall idea of a news story to be published later, or by even connecting with other journalists to get the latest “live” updates on stories.

    I had no clue that there were so many microblogging platforms out there to use, and out of the top ten list given to us I only had heard of three of them. I’ve used Twitter for about two years now, some days posting multiple tweets, other days not posting at all. It all depends on the schedule of my day, how boring it is, if there is a certain event going on, etc. This is, for the most part, an everyday activity for me. Not until these readings did I realize that, or that I was considered to be a microblogger.

    The definition of journalism is evolving, now combining Twitter and other microblogging sites into the mix. Lasorsa, Lewis, and Holton suggest that journalists have the opportunity to voice their personal opinions, rather than “professional judgement”, on these microblogging sites. This helps them to more freely express themselves than when they are writing for their professional careers. With Twitter and sites alike, each journalist is presented with the opportunity to utilize these platforms to grow their career, bettering the credibility of them and even their employers. Journalists can also use specific hashtags to connect themselves with others perhaps focusing on a similar beat. They can also place links to their own work, or another media source’s work, into their Tweets.

    Gatekeeping is the process in which each journalist monitors, filters, and controls how their audience receives information. Through microblogging, they are able to “open the gates” by retweeting while also sourcing back to the original source. This process allows people to easily participate in the writing process and give them access to the journalist’s audience.

    As far as other platforms go, I only use Facebook and Twitter. However, it is very rare that I even log on to Facebook, but when I do, I notice a better response from my friends when I post things from 2-3 p.m. Photos that I upload seem to get more attention than any written post, which coincides very well with the infograph given on the “Perfect Posts” page. Throughout my experience with Twitter, I have tweeted at many different times of the day, some being more effective than others. Usually posting quotes get the most attention, along with more general statements such as, “I’m so tired.”, “I’m starving.”, and so on. I rarely post things in the morning, but they aren’t very successful anyways. Though, I have noticed that I normally get retweets, responses, and favorites from around 12:30-3 p.m. and also around 7 p.m. Using more popular hashtags seem to get my posts more attention as well, so I think I need to work on hashtagging more, while sticking to the 1-4 p.m. window.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Your observation about Gatekeeping is interesting. Traditionally the gates have been between people and information, but your definition suggest something more like curation – the journalist/mass communicator’s role is to facilitate (“allow people to easily participate”), which is a fairly significant change.

  8. frostedtsaar says:

    Besides tumblr and Twitter, I don’t recognize a single name on that list of microblogs. Guess I’ve never been much of a microblogger. I didn’t have a Twitter before this class, and never really understood the appeal.

    Until now. I have to say: adding all these primary sources of news that I’m interested in and really focusing on that, Twitter has become the first place that I look every morning for my news, not to mention blog ideas. The amount of integration available is amazing; the main focus of my blog from Saturday was the response on Twitter to a press release. It’s a great way to combine news sources and public opinion.

    The cool thing about combining all these sources is that there is, when you get right down to it, no gatekeeping to speak of. Like Briggs’s example with the news woman grabbing a high-profile car crash before anyone else with her cell phone, or the other woman chronicling court cases with Twitter. What I mean to say is, I don’t need to wait for Sony to make a press release to news websites and get a piece of news that has been pressed, ironed and washed by everyone in between – I can follow President Shuhei Yoshida himself and get the news the moment it breaks.

    I’ve been trying to keep an eye on my stats on my blog to try to pinpoint the best times to post, and the best headlines to post with. I haven’t quite figured it out yet; my most popular post so far was on a Thursday at around 2:30. Upon posting, I had immediate and overwhelming (for me, anyway) response. I tried to replicate those conditions later with a post that I personally thought was more unique and more breaking, but didn’t get nearly the response I wanted (try a grand total of four views). I’m guessing it has to do with the featured picture, honestly.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Very interesting to hear about the different things you’re trying – keep experimenting, and we’ll discuss further such tactics in class. Glad to see your change of mind on Twitter, not because I want everyone to love it (I come and go, personally) but because it seems like you’ve found some strong utility there for your work.

  9. Microblogging is, obviously, mini-blogging; it includes short bursts of small updates that all together create a story. It can be as simple as a list of status updates, one’s tweet history or a Tumblr page. I think it’s interesting because we’ve all been microblogging (non-journalism majors, too), and we have had no idea. I think most people don’t think of Twitter as a microblog, mostly because they probably don’t know what it is.
    Between microblogging and regular blogging, anyone can be a journalist, and that kind of scares me in this field. Why follow a journalist’s interpretation when you can read an expert’s scholarly opinion? The idea of the gatekeeper is less relevant today than it was 50 years ago. Now with anyone and everyone having a Twitter and anyone with a brain able to create a blog on WordPress, any information is available at any time.
    As far as Twitter goes, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love the idea of two-way communication and how it’s opened up a completely new realm for nonprofits and similar organizations. it teaches you to write concisely because, boy, 140 characters isn’t a lot. The microblogging aspect (taking the parts and making a whole out of it.. a Gestalt of sorts) is incredibly interesting for storytelling. Livetweeting events as they are unfolding is completely new and exciting in journalism, although admittedly it often just shows un-newsworthy trends.
    However, I hate how people tweet and retweet so hastily. Part of being a gatekeeper is being smart and doing research before posting something. I think that the scholarly article made an interesting point: microblogging has increased posting opinions. An explanation that I think applies to why this is so, but was not mentioned is that Twitter has your name to it, not your company’s. I am a lot more likely to tweet my opinion on Emily Cotter’s Twitter than I am on my company’s, nonprofit’s, etc. But is this a good thing? Or does it just expand that Fox News vs. MSNBC mentality? Shouldn’t media be unbiased?
    While we’re talking about Twitter, I have noticed some trends. My tweets about my blog and journalism-related topics do better in the morning and mid afternoon, but my funny tweets do well later in the evening (probably between 5 and 11 p.m.) On occasion I get a late-night humorous retweet at 2 a.m. from a fellow college student pulling an all-nighter. My best results are when I use humor especially when it is related to West Virginia University and the students. My retweets are very high when I directly tweet at someone. I don’t think hashtags make that much of a difference in my situation. I don’t know all the stats and facts, so this is something i definitely want to look into more.
    There is plenty of improving I can do according to the articles. I can ask for retweets, and apparently that works. I just can’t get myself to ask for it though–seems too desperate. I do use shortened links like tinyurl, but I probably don’t do it often enough. Another tip according to “Write the Perfect Post” is to thank people for the retweets. Once again, too desperate for my taste. Although I somewhat morally disagree with the Twitter part, I love that infographic! It’s so helpful. I actually originally had it pinned to my Pinterest board. (All hail Pinterest!)

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Nice distinction regarding retweets and your tweet content! That’d be something interesting to look at across users over the long term.

      You write “Why follow a journalist’s interpretation when you can read an expert’s scholarly opinion?” Why indeed! Perhaps one thing to consider (for your future peace of mind) is which person can be expected to be the better communicator? Scientists, for example, are notoriously bad at communicating their work to laypersons. So perhaps a function of the journalist is (and always was?) one of facilitator?

  10. acampb22 says:

    Microblogging via social media is something that I do very often without realizing. Sharing your opinion about news, current events, or any other relevant topic in 140 characters is a form of blogging. For journalists and journalists-to-be, I think it is very important to learn how to do this affectively. I think the hardest thing to avoid on Twitter is pointless tweets about your everyday life. To be a better microblogger and user of social media I can make a few changes in the way I tweet. In the future I can add more rich content to my tweets, for example links, pictures, videos, etc. I can also tweet at better times of the day, as I tend to tweet mostly late at night.

    I think there is a fine line between twitter being beneficial and twitter being harmful to the journalism industry. While it allows information, articles, and news to be circulated efficiently it also allows false or unimportant information to be circulated. Twitter almost completely eliminates our ability to be gatekeepers for journalism. While the news organizations can release and confirm information through Twitter, false information often still reaches audiences and tends to linger. Gate keeping is something that journalists need to improve on in the social media world.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Where are your references to the particular readings? I can’t tell from this if you’ve read any of them, or if you’re just offering up some thoughts on Twitter based on our post. Regarding Gatekeeping, you write “Gate keeping is something that journalists need to improve on in the social media world.” Why? How?

  11. zvoreh says:

    After reading Briggs I was surprised that I apparently have been a micro blogger since I was 16. It is interesting what new doors microbloggs have opened for the public as well as journalist.

    Twitter and face book have been on the internet for years now and I still remember when CNN first started using twitter to interact with their viewers on air. I remember my initial reaction was a feeling that they were slaking off and using the public to report the news.Now I realize this is the new mutation of the gate keeper journalist. Here we see CNN asking questions and then moderating the responses it shows on air.

    After reading Top 10 Microblogging Sites i was surprised to see a variety of social networks that i didn’t know existed. of the 10 I recognized 2.

    As for the article Best Practices for journalist ,If felt the the information was almost outdated, if not just a bit redundant to someone who grew up in the internet era.

    The third article dealt with journalist using twitter made some interesting points and I found the most interesting , was the concern that journalist would be less objective when tweeting. I hadn’t thought about this before. I know that many journalist have “Professional Twitters”, but I feel that twitter is designed voice opinions so it is worrisome that through some mistake a journalist could post a personal opinion on their professional twitter instead of their private one.

    As for the last two articles, It is interesting that small changes can greatly influence your number of followers. I believe that I will try to implement these to gain more followers, especially on my blog.

  12. Twitter defines microblogging. It’s blogging shared on a social media platforms that is shared by many. In twitter’s case it’s a max of 140 characters. In other platforms, it could be bigger or even smaller. In the top 10 microblogging sites there were a few that shocked me. Obviously, twitter wasn’t one. But, Tumblr didn’t come to mind right away but definitely made sense. The chart on how to write a perfect social media post is genius. Keeping things positive always keeps me involved or including pictures. People tweeting or posting on facebook with negative items can come off as “complaints” and no one likes a complainer. The Perfect headline link also comes in handy when positing links to our blogs, something we can all use in this class.

    The timing and subject of twitter posts comes in handy for me because I handle the “Mountaineer Maniacs” twitter page and need to know when students are up and ready to read our posts. I have looked at charts and my analytics in the past to make sure we get the most amount of Followers/RTs/Clicks.

    A huge difference between a blog and microblogs is that you are more likely to get followers on microblog because people will have to spend less time to read 140 characters than a 5 paragraph article.

    FYI: i watched the entire ad video before realizing that it was only an ad and not part of our read and write.

  13. For those of you who are trying to be serious tweeters, get Tweetdeck. It’s a great way to navigate your blossoming Twitter presence intuitively.
    Consider this: Buffer’s article assumed that “good” posts are those with lots of interaction. What’s the point in dedicating time (and if you’re a business, resources) to tweet if you aren’t getting a return on your investment? How many hours of your day do you spend spewing random thoughts or song lyrics? A year ago I realized the potential and restarted my Twitter from scratch, outfitting the new account with a professional handle and photograph. Do it and never look back!
    Sometimes taking Twitter seriously can be existentially challenging. I mean, you can say you’re trying to win your followers’ hearts and minds, but sometimes it feels like you’re dancing through hoops for mouseclicks.
    To deny Twitter’s power is to perish, however. It helped overthrow governments during the Arab Spring – imagine what it could do for a budding journalist.
    And so I set up the experiment you detailed in your third paragraph, scheduling an entire weekend of tweets with Tweetdeck.
    The goals were the following:
    -To determine my followers’ interests and tastes, considering my audience is different than the one outlined in the Buffer article
    -To track links with Bitly and see which garner the most interaction
    -To identify patterns in tweet timing or content – what am I actually posting and when?
    These were the two big planned tweet events:
    1. Friday was Talk Like A Pirate Day, so I planned a bunch of tweets all in pirate-ese, some tweets funny, others not. Some had links but most didn’t.
    2. The Social Media Challenge tweets, all shortlinked through Bitly.

    On top of that, I tweeted live pretty regularly throughout the day, focusing on posting pictures or video from my phone.

    Man, this really kills the magic of it all. Here are the results:
    1. The pirate tweets had low, low interactivity – in fact, some people were openly annoyed by them. I’d get one or two reactions per tweet, but almost 40 were scheduled to go out throughout the day. The ratio of tweets to interactions was so tweet-heavy that my Klout score dropped 4 points in a single afternoon. Ouch.
    2. The shortlinked tweets also did terrible, with the most popular earning 5 clicks. This may have been influenced by the content of the links – historically, my media-related links haven’t done as well as, say, a tweeted video of Miley Cyrus twerking. I have a lot of Bitly links, and my average amount of clicks is somewhere between 4 and 6. What’s worse – I have just over 500 followers. This means barely 1 out of 100 people click my links, on average.

    My most successful tweets were those I did live, pairing with photos and video. And asking for retweets actually works – people will come out of the woodwork and retweet you if it’s for a good reason.
    Conclusion: I actually suck at Twitter and need to reevaluate what I’m tweeting and when.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      It’s a hard truth to swallow but an important one. You are, of course, free to use Twitter for what you wish, but I always feel dismayed when I see my former students still tweeting exclusively “spewing random thoughts or song lyrics” (This morning, I had THREE people retweet someone else’s tweet about being tired. It’s one thing to post it yourself, but I’m still baffled as to why this information deserves a broader audience.). Your blog posts have a great angle and are insightful, so where you need to experiment is with who you’re interacting with, and how – force yourself to be even more of a participant and get your words into the conversation.

  14. rachelwvu says:

    Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc… we’re all microbloggers—who knew! Journalists should stand apart from the ordinary people by linking, staying objective, and reporting facts. Briggs says the main goal for using social media in journalism is connecting. It’s not just about breaking the news. Briggs puts it like this:
    “Journalists still play an important role by verifying facts and publishing updates as information becomes available”. He continues to say that Journalists can benefit from microblogging. Journalists can now invite the audience to interact with them—give them feedback in real-time.

    This makes sense. After all, journalists do work for the people.

    According to the “how journalists use this tool” article, one of the problems journalists face in microblogging is staying objective. It’s okay to get personal—to show personality and interact with people; however, the goal is to keep obvious opinions out of it. Tweeting with accountability and transparency can easily cross the line, as well. The Principles of Journalism should apply to their tweets, as well. As public, trusted figures, it’s important to keep in mind that people are always watching (thanks to microblogging).

    In a sense, journalists can never ‘punch the clock’ and decide to get sloppy with their tweets and blogs. It’s kind of intimidating to think our opinions could affect or even harm someone, regardless of our intentions. Maybe a new principle should be added—“think before you tweet”.

    As I tweeted about social media, random people added me. BUT they seemed to be fake accounts. Why am I magnet for spammers? I want to appeal to everyone on my twitter feed. I tried to create tweets that a variety of people might be interested in, rather than just other journalists or marketers. I guess I’m not doing a good job since only spammers acknowledge me.

    Briggs says your community “will grow only if you post messages that offer some benefit to your followers”. Since I choose whom to follow, the majority of my twitter community could care less about the news on social media. I need to improve my networking and learn to tweet more proficiently.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Don’t take it personally – as we saw in class, spammers target EVERYONE. And yes, it IS intimidating that you essentially have less social media freedom if you want to work in mass comm. What’s worse is that the only one imposing these restrictions is you (until you get a job; then your readers will be watching you). That’s why it’s a good idea to establish these habits early.

  15. Twitter is an easily accessible and quick way to display my thoughts to those that follow me, and I have been doing so since 2009. I use Twitter to not only display my personal thoughts, but professional and educational thoughts as well. It is somewhat of an important tool to me, but I’m not as into it as the next person. I don’t think it necessarily surprised me to learn that I have been “microblogging” for years. I just wasn’t aware of the term.

    From skimming the scholarly research, I have concluded that Twitter can be used for good or for evil when it comes to journalism. In relation to objectivity, accountability and transparency, Twitter can be very helpful. Journalists can easily share information with interactive readers, they can use links to other resources and they can discuss/answer questions that readers may have in a personal way.

    Because of microblogging platforms such as Twitter, gatekeeping has transformed as well. Journalists with followers that want important information have the ability to retweet anyone/anything they find significant or helpful. This means that news or opinions from anyone could go viral and impact the lives of others. This is a new concept that was not possible before actions like “retweeting” or “hashtagging.”

    The concept of microblogging and mobile journalism fit hand-in-hand. Microblogging helps journalists release information immediately, and mobile journalism helps journalists do so with very little cost.

    I was very interested in how wording and time affected the popularity and views of tweets. I have found that my tweets are read/favorited/retweeted mostly when I tweet during the afternoon. Additionally, the wording of my tweets has greatly impacted the types of followers I have received. Recently, I have been using terms such as “social media, blog, marketing, etc.” and I have gained many followers that tweet about or work in those areas.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I’m not sure you quite got at the heart of that scholarly piece. A big part was how journalists did and did not incorporate opinions; further, what exactly was “very helpful” about objectivity, transparency, etc.? Finally, don’t forget to address the Briggs reading each week.

  16. ryanglaspell says:

    First, can we start referring to each other as a “mojo”? Before reading the Briggs’ chapter I had never heard the abbreviation for a mobile journalist and I love it.

    Anyways, I had never thought of myself as a microblogger, though I’ve had a Twitter and a couple different Tumblr accounts. I guess I never correlated myself fangirling over new music and plugging smaller bands’ music videos everywhere as a type of journalism.
    The convention of being an on-the-go journalist always a minute away from updating a new story is a critical one that lies closely with the idea of journalism. With technology that has the capability to capture and upload stuff immediately comes a new deadline for journalists, as stated by Briggs, “right now.” And new technology does indeed make it a lot easier for anyone to become a publisher of content, but with ease of access doesn’t necessarily come success.

    As all of the online readings (as well as a portion of Briggs) point to, there is a method to being a good microblogger. It is difficult to point out a specific thing to elaborate on, because all of the readings are relevant and useful to me. Some things stated seemed counter to what I believed before. The guide to writing headlines on social media stated that self-referential words generate more feedback. I always thought, “no one wants to hear about you,” was true for Twitter as well as anything else (though I tend to tweet about myself a lot anyways). Other things, such as being an open gatekeeper and retweeting other journalists’ tweets, may have sounded bad a decade ago. Now, it is a quick and easy way to add wider context in your own microblog.

    This week’s readings were like a super-applicable guide on how to not suck at using microblogs. Hopefully they will help this mojo out.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      “I guess I never correlated myself fangirling over new music and plugging smaller bands’ music videos everywhere as a type of journalism.” Funny how it works, isn’t it? You identify an interesting distinction – we’ve been learning that it’s not about you, yet the condensed nature of Twitter’s 140 characters makes those little elements of “you” seemingly more prominent. It’s a balance, and it depends in part on your audience and goals.

  17. cricha18 says:

    I’ve never really considered posting on my Facebook wall or tweeting about something as a form of microblogging, but after reading the Briggs text I now see how the concept of it makes sense. Microblogging is exactly how it sounds, a form or blogging but on a much smaller scale. In the case with Twitter people are constricted to just 140 characters to get the message out to the public, but I think having very little space to write forces us, as the writer, to focus on the important aspects of what we’re saying. Rather than wasting time with “fluff” stories or headlines we’re trained to make our tweet stand out and be as important to the public as possible. Funny enough, even though microblogging greatly constricts the amount someone can post it has the greatest potential to get viewed by many people online.

    I’ve found that when I post something on Facebook, usually in the middle of the day during the week, I would get quite a bit of responses. Now I don’t post to Facebook very often so that may have something to do with it as well, but I definitely see a decent amount of responses when I post during the day. Since Twitter and Facebook are pretty much open to the public this means that just about anyone can view your tweets or posts, so even though you only have 140 characters or so, there may be many eyes watching to see what you say online. Without even realizing it everyday we’re practicing microblogging and creating attention grabbing headlines, it’s no wonder many news organizations are jumping on the idea of using social media.

  18. The Internet is a tool that everyone uses for their advantage including journalists who whether they realize it or not, are constantly posting over the Internet. A very popular and common form of blogging over the Internet is referred to as Microblogging and it is the broadcast medium used on many posts including Twitter! What makes it a microblog? The posts are different than traditional blogs like blogspot.com or wordpress.com in the way that the content is smaller in size. Since Microblogging occurs over many social media networks, users exchange and view smaller forms of content.

    Briggs says that Microblogging is the new form of blogging for the current generation that allows users and journalists to connect through new social networks. The best part of Microblogging is that it is a way for multiple readers and journalists to contribute into the “live web” whether it is by creating and posting stories, or commenting and RT stories. Since Microblogging focuses on the idea of connecting through social media and sharing timely news, many people can stay up to date with the latest news by seeing what is currently happening online.

    Since Microblogging is similar to mobility with the on-the-go nature it makes this a form of communication for journalists and readers easy to use. I am for certain a microblogger as I use many websites like Tumblr to connect and share posts. However, since Twitter has the largest community and form for Microblogging, and I have both my own personal and professional Twitter account I have experience in Microblogging as a journalist and reader. I have been aware that when I post content on my journalist Twitter account that I am Microblogging but I did not realize that on some forms like Tumblr. Microblogging is intended to connect journalism and mass communicators on networks but always connects anyone interest in, well really anything. With clicks, likes, re-posts and retweets now everyone has the capability to blog on the go.

    As journalists, many differ through their selected news beat and Twitter suggests that you should tweet your beat as their first step of practices for journalists on twitter. My beat for WVU News was Entertainment and I do post and RT a lot of content that has to do with the entertainment media. However, I am a journalist and I also RT and post stories on any political or spot events that would interest my readers. I notice the more I hashtag entertainment and journalism, the more entertainment networks and Twitter accounts start to follow my entertainment reporter account.

    The changes in using media as a tool has changed dramatically over this I generation and continues to grow as media expands. There is more freedom, growth and room for journalists to connect and share stories and news now thanks to networking websites and Microblogging. As for gatekeeping, I understand this term to be the process in which content is filtered through these websites. Now because of Microblogging and the impact that social media has on people and the mass amount of journalists, communicators and users on these websites it is important to keep up with these changes. Simple ways to keep up with these Microblogging and social media changes include catching up and learning how to properly post on Microblogging platforms like Twitter.

    After reading many tips on how to use Twitter to my advantage as a journalist and improve my microblogging I was able to compare and contrast my past success with Twitter to my recent success with Twitter. The more hashtags I use that have to do with content like hashtaging a trend, or location or name then more people are connected to my tweet if they are also clicking on that hashtag I use. This is also an example of gatekeeping in my eyes, that hashtags are a form to filter content through gatekeeping. As well it is important to try to fit as much content in the 140 characters that Twitter allows without crowding or confusing your readers. Short links and abbreviations are what I use to fit more content in my microposts. The most success I see over my Twitter is when I use plenty of hashtags and tweet at prominent daytime hours. I also realized you have to twee for your audiences and know when it is appropriate to be personal and make a joke as appose to when to tweet broadly. Tweets that affect a greater amount of people like issues regarding the downtown campus of WVU seem to get more responses and retweets because of mass popular hashtags like #WVU #downtown. I also tag whoever I am talking about typically because most likely that twitter account will RT you and then all their followers will have read your post. Microblogging is awesome and it is a great way to connect quicker through social media.

    -Ilyssa Miroshnk

  19. dkrotz says:

    I’ll have to be honest, Twitter and Tumblr are the only two microblogging sites I have ever heard of on that list, and Twitter is the only one I have ever used. However, having used Twitter as a form of microblogging, I have really realized its potential. I write for a WVU sports blog with several other people, and I have a separate Twitter account for that blog. I have used Twitter in many different ways to communicate with not only readers of the blog, but also with any other WVU sports fans. The use of hashtags, I believe, is very important to engage the readers, because not only can you reach out to your followers, but others can also search to see what you’re talking about.

    Facebook and Twitter have become major outlets for the news media and for journalists to get information out quickly to their audience. They are able to communicate with people who are interested in hearing what they have to say (because these people have gone out of their way to follow you), and they are able to do it in a quick, efficient way by using links in either a Facebook post or a tweet.

    Time of posting content is very important, as well. I have seen much more response during the middle of the day (prime time blogging hours) than I would receive at night or over night. Of course, with my sports blog, response is always higher during a WVU sporting event, so this will change from time to time.

  20. Significant changes are being made to how we know journalism. Everything is constantly evolving, but when it comes to reporting, it surely is evolving quickly. It’s even significantly different than when I began school in the J-school. Journalists have become dependant on forms of microblogging such as Twitter in order to obtain popularity and have more readers. As journalism is shifting toward online media, the term “journalist” is becoming hazy. Of course news media sources are moving and expanding to online sources, but also anyone has the ability to use Twitter, make a blog or regurgitate news stories as if he or she is a journalist. That detail, alone, is very significant.

    Gatekeeping is a term that has been associated with journalism from the beginning. It is defined as the spread of information to individuals from a source that decides the content and the form in which it is spread. “Gatekeeping,” how we’ve known it, is undergoing significant change. Rather than reading about the yesterday’s significant stories in the next day’s paper, Twitter releases a story immediately. It also might come from tons of sources; sources that might not be “journalists”.

    Like stated in Briggs (93), people are attracted to “real-time Web”. This is the immediate production of news. Something that I found interesting from the Twitter research is the shift of journalists becoming opinionated in their microblogging and thus his or her reporting. This is definitely new to journalism, but there is not choice to do it otherwise. Twitter allows 140 characters to say everything you need to say. In that short amount of time, you cannot give both sides of the story. There was another important detail that journalists or bigger, well-known news sources (CNN, ABC, etc) are staying neutral in their microblogging reporting. This is to probably maintain traditional guidelines of journalism and because they already have steady, dedicated followers. For those smaller sources, showing opinion and passion attracts new readers.

    When I began this class, I had only used Twitter a handful of times. I have always understood the significance of it, but never personally used it very much. The simple “best practices for journalists” helped me understand how to simply use Twitter and how to gain more followers as a blogger and a journalist. The “perfect” articles also give great tips when writing in a blog and using social media. I have only researched these sort of topics to the minimal, so it was very informative to read these. I have no yet practiced many of the tips. I have, however, begun to use Twitter as a way to bring people to my blog. When I read my statistics on WordPress, I am pleased to see that I am getting readers from my Twitter. I have also gained more followers on Twitter itself. If I am to brainstorm what combination would be best for my type of blog, I would suspect I should use Twitter frequently, I should post in my blog almost daily, and I should post mid-morning. This is just what I think would be best for my class blog.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Glad to hear you’re drawing readers! The idea of promotion is one that can be difficult, even uncomfortable, for many journalists (including me). We got into this line of work to tell stories and report, right? Why should we have to worry about strategy? Yet that’s the world we live in, and we can adapt or fall behind. Regarding opinion, you write “This is definitely new to journalism, but there is not choice to do it otherwise.” However, it’s certainly not true that journalists didn’t have opinions before social media. I don’t think that’s what you’re arguing, but consider that in one way, journalism is more transparent by acknowledging its practitioners are real people with real opinions. Of course, there are ample instances of this freedom taking things completely off the rails, too … so where’s the balance?

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