Tweeting a great social media tool that should be fact-checked

14 Mar

Twitter has become a part of daily life. It is second nature for many of my friends to tweet about what they’re doing almost every hour of their day.

Sometimes I wish I could grab my friends by the shoulders, shake them and tell them that Twitter can also be used (more effectively) as a news outlet. Lately I have been using Twitter to promote my blog on ‘90s nostalgia, as Mallory Jean Tenore of Poynter suggests. I’m not sure how well it has been working for me, but at least I’m getting it out there.

In an attempt to organize my tweets, I created a “news outlets” list so that I could have all my tweets from newspaper websites in one place. If I made my list public so that it could be shared, journalists could use this as a way to find breaking news, therefore coming up with new story ideas.

Although tweeting a finished story to sources may sound like a good idea, if you write for a local newspaper, some of your older sources may not have a Twitter, so it would still be a good idea to email or call each said source and tell them to either pick up a newspaper to see the story or send them said news story via email.

Tweeting parts of a story is also effective, since the whole point of Twitter is to spark conversation. This helps people interact more with their news. Reactions to a story via tweets can also make a great article. In short, on Twitter, anyone can be a journalist or publisher. However, Mathew Ingram of Gigaom makes a good point when he says this new “networked journalism” has made news a bit more chaotic. Instead of looking to one prominent newspaper/reporter for our news, we have many outlets, which is great but can also be a bit repetitive. Many people like to tweet the same stories over and over again.

Because of Twitter’s many benefits to the world of journalism and social media, you could say that the site has become a worldwide sensation. However, Mark Hill of Cracked.com argues that it indeed has become a sensation — only in the U.S., that is. It isn’t too surprising to me that people in the Middle East barely use social networking, since there are many third-world countries in the area, meaning a supply of computers is scarce. Although Hill is probably right, I disagree with him when he writes that social networking is a terrible source for news. Yes, people may tweet inaccurate information sometimes, but since Twitter is not an actual “news site,” it is up to us to figure out the truth. Research is still important.

Reporters should not depend on Twitter entirely for their stories; they need to check the facts first, as is common journalistic practice.

Twitter story

17 MarOlivia FeldmanOlivia Feldman ‏ @oliviarianne 

This is Olivia Feldman live tweeting from a bus filled with alcohol on the way to Wet N Wild. Happy St. Patty’s! #shotbus

17 MarOlivia FeldmanOlivia Feldman ‏ @oliviarianne 

A girl in a Gator blazer is walking around telling us “You want a shot” while holding a bottle of rum. #shotbus

Someone turns to their friend and says, “This is gonna be a long bus ride.” #shotbus

My seat neighbor is explaining the differences between different types of pigs. #shotbus

The soft country music does not reflect the mood on this vehicle.#shotbus

17 MarOlivia FeldmanOlivia Feldman ‏ @oliviarianne 

After going onto the Turnpike exit on I-75, a group of people rejoice, “We’re not going to Tampa!” #shotbus


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