Social Media Tips for Journalism Students: #1 twitter

This is the first in a series of posts on what I find useful as a journalism student in the world of social media. It’s by no means definitive, just what has worked for me.

Twitter – Become a conversationalist

Your twitter account is part of your online identity and is a great tool for journalism students. You should have a twitter account that you’re proud of and that you would want your editor to read.

The mistake of those new to twitter is to merely be a broad

caster or spamcaster. My heart sinks when I click to someone’s twitter profile page and see no @replies or #hashtags.

It’s important to join the conversation.

If you find something interesting that others may not have seen retweet it, if you have something to add or disagree with someone’s tweet then @reply them. You can build valuable relationships very quickly on twitter by joining in the wider conversation taking place.

Follow interesting people, and for the most part I don’t include celebrities in that. Most journalists of note are now on twitter and there’s invaluable information that you can garner from them and your opinion you can share back with them.

Look at who the people you follow are retweeting and linking. If you like the content that someone you follow has retweeted, click through to the origin of the retweet. It might be a valuable new person to follow.

Attract more followers and readers with #hashtags.
You may only have 20 or 30 followers in your first few weeks on twitter but what if you have something you’d like to share with everyone? Hashtag it! If you have an insight or news about the British General Election then end your tweet with #ge2010 and it’ll be discoverable to people interested in the election. Want to comment on Question Time? Hashtag with #bbcqt.

Just as you impart information, knowledge and opinion through an article, do so the same on twitter. If you have a blog publicise new posts on twitter. It’s a good way to drive traffic to your blog and get people commenting on and interested in your work.

At the time of writing I follow 580 people which might sound large but I’ve added each one of them because they’ve had something interesting to say and I don’t really suffer too much from twitter noise.

Twitter is a great platform for journalism students as it forms relationships based on insight, knowledge and wit. You’re created equal to every other journalist out there and have a direct means of communication with them and the genpub.  Your looks, friends, popularity and how much you go out don’t matter here. Your thoughts are your currency.

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