Wick Communications

Isn’t most tweeting ‘live?’

In Online media on 29 May 2014 at 2:18 pm

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That was my question after reading this Storify collection of tweets from WOWK reporter Jessie Shafer. Then I had to give the West Virginia television reporter her due.

Shafer was being praised for her many tweets from an increasingly contentious recent city council meeting. Her stream was retweeted many times and brought attention to what certainly started out as a local story of the termination of a sanitation worker.

Her tweets and the reaction to them brought to mind something important about the medium. I think tweets are great for breathless breaking news (“Council votes 5-0 to censure mayor” or “Highway 435 closed due to big-rig accident”) but also for conveying the mood of an event. That is what Shafer accomplishes with tweets reading, “I’ve never seen a council meeting like this” and “Mayor just had a phone call during meeting. Answered it. Kept talking until crowd told him to get off the phone.”

You could do worse than to follow @JessieShafer to see how she does it day after day.

One caveat: You want to avoid full-on snark. Remember that you are representing your news operation. The medium calls for a bit of personality, but you don’t want to go overboard. I wouldn’t call the mayor a buffoon on my Twitter account. But I might suggest that those in the audience consider him one. Self-deprecation sometimes works; bullying does not.

If that feels like a hazy distinction, be careful with the medium. You can read more about the proper use of Twitter here and here.



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