Twitter!

February 27th, 2009 by Jack Styczynski

(2/28 update: check out this story in Saturday’s New York Times.)

I attended a seminar on Twitter at work today and although I still don’t get the microblogging site’s appeal, I do understand its usefulness.  The session included a lot of talk about Twitter as a promotional tool, the importance of making your profile look professional, and being careful about what you say once you’ve identified yourself as a company employee (which would even apply to students who will eventually be company employees, given that “tweets” never die), but of course, I was most interested in the reporting and research angles.

Mentioned prominently were the uses during the recent Hudson River and Buffalo plane crashes, gathering eyewitness accounts.  Just yesterday, Poynter Online posted a similar story about the Amsterdam crash.  But as useful as Twitter can be during such breaking news events, the point was also made that it’s only a matter of time before some news organization gets “pranked” by a supposed eyewitness. 

Anyway, two good sites to check out are Twitter Search and Monitter.  Enter a word into the search box, and you’ll get the most recent tweets including that word.  Twitter Search even lists the top trending topics on its home page, and TweetStats has a page with both current and historical trends.  Another interesting site is Twitterholic, which provides a list of the most followed Twitterers.

We’ll have a lesson on social networking later this semester.

P.S. One of the hottest trending topics on Twitter today is Rocky Mountain News.  My condolences to all the journalists who are now out of a job.


Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

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