Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tweet Tweet!

Back in November, I wrote a blog post about Twitter. As I recall, I was very new to Twitter…and let me tell you—a lot has changed since then. I will be the first to admit I was very skeptical about the whole thing. It was described to me as an endless facebook news feed. Yuck. That sounds downright annoying! But I don’t think that description accurately captures the purpose and possibilities of Twitter.

With the guidance of the incredible Jen Reeves, I have come to see the unique uses of Twitter. It is most definitely more than just a facebook newsfeed. One of the reasons I like it so much is I feel it’s like facebook but with out all the drama! Well…it’s a lot harder to have drama with just 140 characters…you have to be more creative.

Twitter is a great way to connect—they call it social media for a reason! I have experienced many unique connections through the world of Twitter. I posted something about Edward R. Murrow on the anniversary of his death. To my surprise, my post was retweeted by a number of Japanese people. I was quite perplexed, and posted another tweet saying so. Was I getting spammed? What was going on? I didn’t (to my knowledge) have any Japanese followers who would retweet me like that. Well, after tweeting that I thought all the retweets were strange; I got a response from one of my retweet-ers. He explained:
“After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, FDR asked Murrow whether he was astonished about it or not. He said ‘Yes.’ FDR replied to him with laugh, ‘Well Murrow, I might not have been surprised.’ This episode is very impressive to many Japanese.”

This was an incredible example of the power of social media. I connected with someone in another country and learned something interesting about a famous journalist. It shows the power Twitter has to connect people, and how I used it to expand my knowledge.

Since then, I have used Twitter for help in various areas: I asked people in my area where I should get my hair cut, I asked #nerds how to change the background on my blog, I asked people their opinions on various issues to seek out sources, the list goes on.

Earlier this year, I made a trip to Nashville, TN with the Mizzou chapter of RTDNA. There, I met an anchor (also a Denver girl and Mizzou J-School alumna) who is a Twitter pro. Christine Maddela uses Twitter very effectively. She tweets to promote her station, to alert her followers about pertinent news stories, and to connect with her viewers! Christine even had an article written about her when she tweeted about the horrible flooding in Nashville and helped to raise awareness.

As a journalist, I strive to make connections. In a world where people are increasingly getting their news from the Internet, our viewers want to connect with us and know us as people. Twitter is a great way to stay in touch with people from my past, as well as connect with new people I meet. The station that I currently work at, KOMU, uses Twitter every day with each story is keep our viewers in the loop. Our motto when it comes to Twitter? TALK, don’t tease. As someone who is now very comfortable with Twitter and knowledgeable about its possibilities, I know I can use Twitter effectively to connect. The way I see it, when I move on to a new station in a new city, Twitter will be an even more vital tool for connecting with my new viewers and becoming a trustworthy figure in the community!

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