Tag Archives: joanna geary

Welcome to journalism. Now delete your history.

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.

And I only had to mention SnapChat, and sexting for them to get it.

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.

Related: Why you might not ever get a job again… if you swear a lot on the internet

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Experiences in social media from the Birmingham Post’s Jo Geary

Insightful presentation from Development Editor Jo Geary on some of the lessons she’s learned while building the Birmingham Post’s presence in social media. You can also find it on her blog here.

10 Twitter users that every journalism student should follow?

UPDATE: From the comments: similar lists now available for Norway and Sweden.

I will soon begin teaching my annual module in Online Journalism and one of the first things I get the students to do is set up a Twitter account. It’s often a struggle to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter, so this time around, in addition to following each other, I’m going to give them 10 people to start following from the off. This is the list I’ve come up with – would welcome your suggestions for others:

  1. @davelee – former journalism student and excellent blogger who landed a plum job at the BBC after graduating. Get the point?
  2. @channel4news – example of how a news organisation can use Twitter in a personal, conversational way, rather than simply republishing its RSS feed (see also: @r4news, @mashable) Continue reading

How journalists can master Twitter (blogger’s cut)

The following is a longer version of the article that appeared in Journalism.co.uk last week, with some extra tools and quotes.

It’s almost impossible to sum up Twitter in one line. To some, it is a way of delivering content to mobiles as headline text alerts. To others, it’s a social networking tool for getting contacts and leads. Some use it as a research tool for developing stories; and still others as a project management tool to gather a number of contributors together – for example, drivers posting updates on traffic.

In other words, it is what you make it and the only way to figure it out is to start using it. The following is a guide to getting started on Twitter as a journalist, and some of the things that can be done with it. Continue reading

How interactive are UK business news websites?

That’s the question Birmingham Post reporter Joanna Geary has been asking herself, and has come up with the following rather lovely graphic:

Clickon the image for a larger, more readable version – you’ll see she’s looking for availability of email contacts, use of things like maps, blogs, bookmarking, video (is that interactive? Or multimedia?), email newsletters, mobile alerts, RSS, podcasts, chats, forums – and Twitter: “I know it’s not yet a mass communication device but I think it’s a good indicator of those who are thinking about the development of the market” Continue reading