How Journalists Should Talk About Their Assignments on Twitter

journalists on TwitterJournalists love Twitter.

Well, the ones who got fired over it probably don’t …. but many use the site for their daily work, including talking about their finished assignments.

The great (and sometimes not so great) thing about Twitter is that hard rules don’t exist beyond the 140-word limit unless your media organization created guidelines for you, of course.

If you want to talk about what you’re up to on Twitter, how should you do it?

Some people are transparent and mention that they are talking about their own story, while others don’t. They might say something such as “here’s my story,” “my latest work on [enter organization,] or some people create a hashtag for themselves. When I’m posting stories that I wrote, I generally tell people that it’s my work, but I don’t consider it essential.

One newspaper started asking its journalists to use the hashtag #myassignment, Media Bistro reports on it’s 1000 Words blog. It’s an interesting idea and helps your followers know when you’re talking about your own work.

But, writer Meranda Watlin makes a good point. What happens when PR people or others start using the hashtag?

One solution, which would also solve her other concern about the tag not being specific enough, is for the media organization to create an url shortener for its website. Media Bistro does this, using m.bist.ro. This way people could tell what the link pointed to.

Hootsuite, which helps you manage social media accounts, recently began offering custom url shortening for free. To set one up for your own site, it’s not completely free since you will have to buy the shortened domain. The Hootsuite blog provides tips on how to do this.

Of course, Twitter doesn’t drive a huge amount of traffic to news websites. Still, I think the best way to use Twitter as a journalist is for individuals to share their own content and develop their own following.

How do you talk about your work on Twitter? Do you think it’s important to announce when you’re talking about your stuff? And what do you think is the best way?

One Response to How Journalists Should Talk About Their Assignments on Twitter
  1. Katherine Shurlds
    August 13, 2011 | 4:36 pm

    It’s “its,” not “it’s” — except for the last one.

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