Friday, April 19, 2013

To Tweet Or Not - WSJ's Neal Mann Makes It More Compelling

My first invitation to tweet was about six years ago.  I turned it down.  It's grown on the radar but my basic reaction has been, "the only reason to tweet is that people are saying I should"  rather than it does something I need.  When I checked with my kids, they both said, "You have a blog."

Recently I wanted to contact someone and could find no email addresses - only a Twitter account.  But I had to join Twitter to send a message.  He didn't hear from me.

Today, at the Alaska Press Club conference I went to hear Neal Mann of the Wall Street Journal's social media editor talking about social media in news.  Basically the whole conversation was about Twitter and how he and the Journal use it. 

Neal uses Twitter as a news source.   He's got structured lists to watch different subjects and different tweeters.  He talked about setting up a personalized news channel and following particular stories as well as interactions with his 60,000 followers.  Here are a couple of his tweets Friday: 

  1. About to talk to journalists at Alaskan Press Club about social media & journalism, plenty to talk about from Boston coverage.

He said his followers are a source for stories.   But there's a need to verify their identity.  He talked about ways to do that.  On his page, above, you can see the blue dot next to his name which is Twitter's way to verify celebrities and businesses - that this really is that person's Twitter account.  You can also look at how many tweets the person's posted and how many followers he has to get a sense. 

He said Twitter also gives writers, photographers, and videographers a huge platform for pushing their content, which his WSJ job has him doing for reporters there.  Through Twitter each reporter has his own brand.

To the right, he's explaining the parts of his Twitter Deck.

I got a sense of a lot more potential on Twitter, though his news beat is different from what I'm doing here.  I'm still concerned about this being yet another time drain and distraction.  I've got a lot non-blogging projects on my list.  Should Twitter get added to that list?  Will it make my life easier or harder?

Here's a bit of video I found at beet tv where Neal covers about some of the things he talked about today.  I enjoyed this session a lot.  It stimulates a lot of thinking. 

There were several other sessions I attended and there are more tomorrow. Sorry, I'm way behind here. Also met with my UAA new faculty group for lunch. One of them brought his four month old son and I got to play surrogate grandpa for a bit.

If anyone has thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of Twitter, don't be shy about sharing.

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