When people ask how they can report the news within Twitter’s character limits, show them this. That is all.
After just seven minutes of the match with Arsenal, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer was already a hero: he had just saved a penalty from Mesut Ozil.
But Reddit user Vikistormborn was curious about what the commentator described as their “long” history, and started searching for details on Ozil’s childhood. And after finding this image on a Telegraph story, he
or she decided to have a little fun…
In the third and final post of this series Patrick Scott had a look at the click-through rate (CTR) of some famous individual Twitter users and found that those who do best tend to be political.
In the first post of this series we saw that regional newspapers that tend to do well on Twitter follow a larger proportion of people relative to the number of people following them.
Conversely, in the second post of the series we saw that this ratio of followers to followed is less significant for magazines. The successful magazine accounts tended to be more personable than personal and gave their followers a clear engagement pathway to go down.
In this post we will see that, like the regional newspapers, famous individuals with a higher CTR tend to have a better followers to followed ratio, although there are a couple of notable exceptions to this. Continue reading
In a previous post, we saw that some regional newspapers do a lot better than others in terms of their Twitter click-through rate. Johnston Press titles, The Northampton Chronicle and Echo, The Scotsman and The Lancashire Evening Post tended to perform the best out of the 10 newspapers that we looked at in this regard.
The Online Journalism Blog talked to Mark Woodward, head of websites at Johnston Press, about the findings and about how Johnston Press sees Twitter as a whole.
How Johnston Press adapted to Twitter
The need to adapt to the evolving digital landscape is very important for regional newspapers as they attempt to reduce the well documented decline in readership.
A large part of this adaptation is concerned with the growth of social media and the ways that this can be used to drive traffic to a news site.
Out of all the papers analysed in the original post, the Johnston Press titles seemed to be doing this best.
Every day this week I am publishing an example of a legal dilemma that a journalism student might face (why? Read my previous post on students being publishers, and the responsibilities that come with that). I can’t promise a ‘right answer’ at the end of the week – but I hope you can comment on what a student publisher might do – and why.
Case 2: Celebrity visit – and you don’t have pictures
This is a true story. A fire drill has just ended, and as you’re walking back to the classroom you think you see a famous rugby player in the crowd. Your friend says “Nah, it’s not him”.
Like a good journalist, you don’t accept that, so you go to the university reception to ask if Famous Rugby Player is indeed around today. Yes, they say, he is.
Apparently he’s promoting a healthy eating scheme – and also looking at a new piece of kit designed by the health faculty.
You get the details of what he’s doing there, and where he will be when, make a quick call to your editor, and then chase off to find him.
Once there, you interview him, a marketing rep from the company paying him, and a representative from the health faculty.
But your phone runs out of battery – so you have no photos.
As you get back to the newsroom, Famous Rugby Star’s visit is already all over Twitter.
You want to get this story up on your blog before the local newspaper – but a celebrity story is nothing without images.
Thankfully, a few of those tweeting about the visit have taken snaps. Also, one has uploaded some brief video footage to YouTube, and embedding is enabled.
Meanwhile, you have emailed the marketing rep and the health faculty rep for images – both have been promised, but you have no idea how long it will take.
- What are the legal issues here – and what tests need to be met for them to be an issue (or not)?
- What defence could you mount?
- How likely is it that legal action would result?
- Would you publish – and why?
‘Answers’ and discussion in the comments
Yesterday an 18-year-old journalism student told me he’d deleted his entire Twitter history using TweetDelete. The same day I noticed that another had changed his Twitter username to remove a reference to Newcastle United.
I was not an innocent bystander – I have to admit: I’d sort of advised them to do this…
Full circle in five years
Some history: I’ve been training journalists and student journalists to use Twitter for almost five years now, and have seen an enormous shift in that time.
In those early classes – between 2008 and 2010 – the difficulty was getting people to write more informally: almost no one had a Twitter account, so they approached it as a professional tool, with professionalism very much in mind.
By the third year, however, things were starting to change. By then around half would typically have pre-existing Twitter accounts, and many were using them in a personal capacity. The problem was not using Twitter in the first place, but how to combine the professional with the personal. “Should I have a different account for personal use?” Yes, I used to say.
Now I don’t.
There’s no such thing as a personal Twitter account
I no longer suggest having separate professional and personal accounts because, aside from the difficulty of running two accounts, frankly there is no such thing as a truly personal, even private, account if you are a journalist.
Some manage the balance: Joanna Geary, who maintains @guardianJoanna and @joannaGeary, springs to mind. But Joanna is able to do that because her ‘personal’ account is barely distinguishable from her ‘work’ account: she acts professionally; she talks about things that interest many of the same people who follow her ‘professionally’.
Joanna, in other words, is the exception.
In the movement from one audience (close friends) to another (strangers who may be judging our credibility as reporters) the harsh truth is that we will be judged unfairly against a standard we never anticipated.
And so I ended up showing TweetDelete to a class of 18-year-olds.
Welcome to the world of permanence. Please keep an eye on your past. For the sake of convenience, you may want to delete it (at least TweetDelete will give you an archived copy).
Note: Ross Hawkes has a fascinating exercise on the same subject: he will find tweets by members of the class and present them back to the class with the name removed. What would they think? “But it’s out of context!” Exactly.
Is the Daily Mail less impartial than social media? That’s the takeaway from one of the charts (shown above) in Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report.
The report asked website and app users to rate 7 news websites against 5 criteria. The Daily Mail comes out with the lowest proportion of respondents rating it highly for ‘impartiality and unbiased‘, ‘Offers range of opinions‘, and ‘Importance‘.
This is particularly surprising given that two of the other websites are social networks. 28% rated Facebook and Twitter highly on impartiality, compared to 26% for the Daily Mail. Continue reading