15 Free Ways Journalists Use Social Media Tools to Track Topics

journalists tools beyond social media

Go beyond the reporter notebook: try these social media tools.

While online reporting shouldn’t replace on-the-street-in-person reporting, it can be helpful sometimes to use methods for finding sources and information and for promoting your work. Here are some social media tools journalists can use to keep track of topics.

1. Twitter lists

  • If you create lists as you follow new people, you can check them to stay updated about certain subjects.
  • You can also follow the lists that other users create.
  • If you’re not on Twitter, or like to organize all your info using RSS, it’s possible to create an RSS feeds for a user or a list. The new Twitter did away with RSS integration, but of course people figured out a hack.
  • You can also manage your lists using Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

2. Twitter advanced search

  • The advanced search has many options, such as searching by place or within a certain date range.

3.The Tweeted Times

  • A real-time personalized newspaper from your Twitter account.
  • Users create paper for specific topics (based on streams produced by Twitter Lists or Twitter search).
  • For example, here is a list of the journalists who make tech and media news.
  • You can favorite papers and follow them.

4. Paper.li

  • A newspaper built from all the articles, blog posts, videos and photos shared on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Journalists might want to subscribe to the Journo Watch.

The difference between Paper.li and The Tweeted Times is that the second one is more simple. It only includes Twitter and is presented on one page. Paper.li includes media and a live-tweet stream in its paper. It also allows the editor to provide an editor’s note. Most people build them using hashtags.

5. Trendsmap

  • This social media tool is a real-time map of Twitter trends across the world.
  • You can see trends by city. This works best for larger cities.

6. Hashtags.org

  • Use this website to track hashtags,  and to see what hashtags people are using to talk about a certain topic.
  • Using the right hashtag means more people will be likely to see your tweet and respond, or visit your link.

7. Twilerts

  • After setting up an alert, you’ll receive regular email updates about any keyword you choose.

8. Monniter

  • This tool shows a real time Twitter search and allows keyword monitoring.
  • With this social media tool, you can narrow your search by geographical location, although sometimes this option hasn’t always worked when I’ve used it.

9. Muckrack.com

  • Visit this site to follow journalists on Twitter.
  • Discover what is happening right now or narrow your view to different beats.
  • You can also search by source, and can see what is trending on Muckrack.

10. SocialOomph

  • Sign up to get Twitter keywords send to your email. You get a limited number of keywords with the free version, but it’s more than other tools allow.

11. Socialmention

  • This site allows you to search for keywords on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other user-generated content.
  • You can also see trends on their main website.

12. Hyper Alerts

  • This tool is for everybody who wants email reports of posts and comments on a selected Facebook page.
  • You don’t have to be an admin of the page to get updates.

13. Facebook Lists

  • You can create lists of media organizations, or lists of people that talk about the topic you want to track.

14. Quora

  • Users can follow topics and questions that relate to the subjects that you cover as a journalist.
  • For more about this site, read our update about ways journalists are using Quora.

15. Tumblr

  • Once you create an account, you can follow tags that relate to the subjects that interest you.
  • You can also follow media organizations using the blogging tool, or other users that might be useful.

Photo Credit: matt.hintsa

2 Responses to 15 Free Ways Journalists Use Social Media Tools to Track Topics
  1. [...] 15 Free Ways Journalists Use Social Media Tools to Track Topics [...]

  2. Social media’s influence on journalism
    November 18, 2011 | 4:52 pm

    [...] 15 Free Ways Journalists Use Social Media Tools to Track Topics: http://sustainablejournalism.org/socialmedia/journalists-social-media-tools-track-topics [...]

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