Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Too much tweet?

In Social media on 28 Sep 2017 at 2:04 pm

The journalism world is atwitter this week with news that Twitter is doubling — doubling! — the number of characters allowed in a tweet.

What you read there is 136 characters. It’s essentially an old-school tweet. Do I need more space?

Adding characters to the tweet just so characters can ramble on is, of course, a blaspheme. As journalists, we are the most loyal users of the phone-friendly platform. And, as journalists, we know that shorter is better — even if we don’t always practice what we preach. For, I believe it was Shakespeare who held is iPhone X in the air in order to get a better signal in the stuffy Globe Theater to tweet, “Brevity is the soul of wit!” #PlaysTheThing #WhereForOutThou @juliet.

In all seriousness, I think we journalists like Twitter so much, in part, because it forces concise expression and we’re trained to be good at that. Fast and succinct are two words we appreciate perhaps more than the average bear.

Nonetheless, this week Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey caved to the long-winded and announced that his maligned platform was testing 280 characters. Why? Well, whatever he says, the reason is because the social media giant has sort of stalled. He’s trying to see if he can interest more people by allowing, well, more.

Great. There goes one of the last bastions of the edited word.

By the way, do you use Twitter? I like it a lot. It’s easy to follow local schools, first responders, area legislators in order to get a first head’s up. And as a news consumer, once you get the hang of what can feel like an archaic system of @ symbols and #s, you can follow breaking news like never before.

Most Wick papers use it to broadcast breaking stuff and local sports scores. Wick editors @hr_epetermann1 and @brandonbowers are two of my favorite follows because they have mastered the right voice for the platform and they post interesting stuff.

I’d be interested in knowing what else you do with it.



Twitter strategy? What’s that?

In Social media on 4 May 2017 at 12:49 pm

So, what is your Twitter strategy?

If you are like me, “strategy” is just another word for “posting whenever I get around to it.” Which doesn’t seem very strategic, does it?

Last week, the good people at Huffington Post announced they were rebranding a bit and redesigning their digital footprint. Editor Lydia Polgreen talked about it in a very thoughtful way here.

Part of what she said was, “Facts and truth are basic elements of the news. But they alone are not enough. Emotion, humor and empathy are also essential ingredients of journalism that helps you know what’s real…”

She is definitely on to something. One way her organization is tackling the problem of inserting voice into its reporting is with a new Twitter strategy. … Read the rest of this entry »

When tweets misrepresent

In Social media on 4 Nov 2016 at 9:30 am


For some time now, I’ve noticed reporters inserting tweets into their digital copy or referencing them in print. This is fine and often tweets are newsworthy. Look no further than the current presidential campaign for evidence of that.

However, I’ve also noticed reporters using those tweets in place of reporting. Take, for instance, the image above, which came from an ESPN story about the New England Patriots trading linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns earlier this week. The writer was looking to understand what other players thought of it and stumbled on the tweet you see, which is from former teammate Chandler Jones. We are led to believe “Shheeshhh” is some kind of comment on this trade because … well, I don’t know why.

The L.A. Times drew on angry social media rants after Beyoncé had the audacity to sing on the Country Music Awards the other night. In a way, this allows the writer to seek opinion beyond the usual suspects or the reach of her Rolodex, which is good. But it also creates a false narrative. Would whomever is behind @torimarie25 really suggest Beyoncé “go home” if asked by a reporter? Would that Facebook commenter really say, “SHE DOES NOT BELONG!!!”? And would she scream it like that? Should we allow her to say why she thinks that?

Most of us have had occasion to write things on social media we’d like back, things we would never say if asked for a reasoned opinion. I think when we use social media to look for the most outlandish opinion, we are doing a disservice to the truth and finding an artificial way to create divides between people who may be rational and more nuanced than they seem in 140 characters.


Broadcast your stories

In Online media on 5 Nov 2015 at 12:39 pm

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By now you know (because the helpful folks on the Wick Digital Team sent you an email last week) that BLOX allows you to “broadcast” your Web posts at the time that you update your site. This is great, and I hope it gets even better.

As you know, posting links and engaging chatter on Facebook and Twitter is time-consuming and often falls by the wayside when things get busy. It would be great if you could do that at the same time you are updating the Web, right?

Well, now you can through a newly enabled BLOX tool called Broadcast.

The digital team already described the process better than I ever could. In a nutshell, you find the Broadcast option under the “Other” tab toward the right of your asset. From there it’s pretty self-explanatory. Click Twitter and/or Facebook and write the verbiage you want to appear with your post. They will pick up the art that is already with the story.

We know both intuitively and through analytics that ever-more people are coming to our content through social media rather than by clicking on our homepage and opening stories. Friends share our Facebook posts. People from around the world see our Twitter feeds. It’s where our readers are these days. So we absolutely need to meet them there. It is no longer enough to update the Web and wait. You have to push this stuff through a variety of other channels that include Facebook and Twitter.

Broadcast can help. … Read the rest of this entry »

Take a Twitter Moment

In Social media on 8 Oct 2015 at 3:17 pm


This week, Twitter just couldn’t stop making news. First, it announced founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey would take the job fulltime. Then it dropped Twitter Moments.

If you want to know more about Dorsey and what he means to the social network platform, you should read Nick Bolton’s book, “Hatching Twitter.” We’ll all just have to see what Moments ultimately means for us.

Here’s what we know: Twitter has hired curators (those people we once called “editors”) to assemble interesting tweets from across the world on trending topics. These are Moments that are available when you enter the app and touch the lightning bolt at the bottom of your Twitter mobile page. Read the blog post for a primer.

What does it mean to journalists? Well, I’m not sure. It is a good way to keep up on user-generated content on a variety of stuff that may touch on your coverage area. It may also suck traffic from Facebook Instant Articles and even traditional media websites. If there is an earthquake in China today, god forbid, where would you go to find out about it? I might go to Twitter Moments for news stories, photos from amateurs at the scene and who knows what else.

Dorsey is charged with growing an already huge audience to Twitter. This development may help. Wired magazine calls Moments “Twitter’s most important new feature ever,” a way for non-users to finally “get” what Twitter is about.

Take a look. Imagine a time in the not-too-distant future when you can create your own Moments about local events. The future of news is here and keeps evolving.


Women deserve better

In sports on 1 Oct 2015 at 12:39 pm

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Former attorney and current Sports Illustrated columnist Julie DiCaro wrote an extraordinary piece this week that begs some discussion. I’m about to link to it, but be aware, the post is the most profane, sexist, in some ways plain terrifying thing I’ve ever seen in a mainstream media post. And none of it is her fault.

OK, here it is.

As you can see, DiCaro has been the subject of incredible harassment. I would say it’s unbelievable, except, sadly, I believe it. I was a sportswriter covering national events 20 years ago. Way back then I witnessed vile, disgusting treatment of women in and around the game. Just one that I will never forget: I saw a back-up quarterback in the NFL offer one of his lesser appendages to a female sports reporter as a coat rack. Big laughs all around. And that was just for starters. There were fewer women in the field back then, but I have always admired their ability to ignore the distractions and do their jobs amid downright threatening behavior from grown men.

I would like to think things have changed, but social media seems to have pushed us back into the Paleolithic era. As DiCaro notes, the perceived anonymity of Twitter particularly and even our own comment platform seems to embolden cretins who are threatened by intelligent women with the temerity to speak about sports.

From the piece, here is Jemele Hill, who is half of he popular His and Hers show on ESPN: … Read the rest of this entry »

Is Twitter going long?

In Social media on 1 Oct 2015 at 12:29 pm

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The tech news site Re/code is reporting sort of breathlessly that Twitter is losing its 140-character limit in a move that will allow long-form content and change our relationship with the social media giant. (If you don’t already, you should know about Re/code. Great contributors and there is probably not a better way to keep up with Silicon Valley.)

I actually thought this was coming all along. It’s been talked about for years. Now the new interim CEO is charged with drumming up millions more users and some think that the pool of potential players is lessened by the limit. There is no official word on the change nor any indication of when it might occur.

Me, I like the limit. It causes me to think about how best to deliver the message. As it is, it’s differentiated from Facebook. If I can post at whatever length I like and attach photos and the like, I don’t understand the unique value proposition any longer.

Perhaps I’ll get it when I see it.

If you aren’t in the Twitterati, I strongly suggest you give the platform another look. It really is a great way to follow people on your beat, track real-time breaking news and just keep up with trends and things that interest you. I like it a lot more than Facebook, personally. (Follow me @wicknews!) … Read the rest of this entry »

Get smart on Twitter

In Online media on 10 Sep 2015 at 4:16 pm

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I got a great suggestion from Wick Advertising Director Cindy Hefley this week. She forwarded this terrific list of smart Twitter denizens and suggested I might come up with my own and share it here. You are welcome. There is nothing special about it. These are just friends, colleagues or others in our business who consistently post thought-provoking things on Twitter. If you play with Twitter at all, I’m sure you have your own equally valid list.

As part of his list, Bloomberg’s Tom Keene (@tomkeene) suggested a great way to grow your list of interesting folks. Simply look to see who the people you follow are following.

OK, here are mine:

@KVeklerov is the editor-in-chief of the University of California Daily Californian student newspaper. You can follow her if you want, but the point here is you should definitely find the editors of your local college student newspapers. Follow them. Interact with them. Recruit them.

@newsdesignnerds probably needs no introduction. Want good ideas for your next special layout?

@RRHeraldPublisher is Titus Workman. He has been working the heck out of Twitter of late. He’s using it to push his blog, “Publisher Talk,” to send photos from news events he attends and to share links to his newspaper’s stories. In fact, go ahead and follow all Wick publishers who have accounts. … Read the rest of this entry »

Covering #blacktwitter

In Social media on 9 Jul 2015 at 3:35 pm

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Yet another example of Twitter’s relevance to the journalistic enterprise surfaced recently when the Los Angeles Times confirmed that it was hiring a reporter to cover “Black Twitter.”

Before we go any further, let me try my hand at a bit of impossible definition. Black Twitter is a shifting group of African-Americans on Twitter who together tend to comment on matters of race, discrimination, dissent – and everything else. There is a growing understanding that a fleet of thoughtful, smart black people are finding community on the social media platform and together they are trendsetters. The #blacklivesmatter hashtag is only one example of how folks have coalesced around a theme and created a newsworthy conversation.

A leaked memo from the Times suggests that new reporter Dexter Thomas also will be seeking other online communities, such as “Latino Tumblr” and “Black Medium.”

I wouldn’t focus terribly much on the two-word mash-ups. (“Grandma Facebook,” anyone?) The point is that big news organizations are increasingly understanding that social media is a place to find news in addition to a distribution mechanism.

One of the ways community newspapers differ from social media is in the way we generally define community. For us, it’s most often a geographical construct. If you live in Douglas, Ariz., you are part of that community. But if you are a Latino with a smartphone in Douglas, your community may be other Latinos from around the world. These aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. Look for points of intersection. … Read the rest of this entry »

Are hashtags #over?

In Online media on 11 Jun 2015 at 4:06 pm


Shadi Rahimi thinks an awful lot about #.

She is the deputy producer of engagement for Al Jazeera’s new social media and mobile-first project known as AJ+. She wrote an enlightening post for Poynter this week on a subject I have always found a bit vexing: hashtags.

Hashtags, of course, are a way to classify social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere that creates groups or strings of content that are searchable to anyone wanting to follow a particular conversation. Think #BlackLivesMatter. Rahimi traces the art form all the way back to 2007. We’re talkin’ pre-Snapchat! Now she wonders aloud whether the convention has run its course.

As with so many things, we in the legacy media are partially to blame for the demise of a good thing, apparently. That’s because we jumped into the hashtag game without really knowing what we were doing. We use them because we think we are being ironic (#sorrynotsorry) or just throw 10 of them at the end of a post hoping to catch as many eyes as possible.

Rahimi argues persuasively that overuse and misuse has made them harder to use and also less effective. They are no guarantee of engagement, particularly for lesser stories. Your locally generated hashtag or own invention is likely to be a waste of characters. … Read the rest of this entry »