Twitter presents a real opportunity for news organizations, argues, The Wall Street Journal’s Alan Murray argues, but media companies need to understand the platform before they can really put it to work.
So how can news media effectively use Twitter? Murray says Twitter is a great:
- News filter. It can help editors stay informed by passing along stories they might never have seen otherwise.
- Promotional tool. It allows the company to tout new features and new content.
- Customer service tool. Murray uses Twitter to keep up with reader concerns and even uses it to follow public opinion on Rupert Murdock.
What are Twitter’s shortfalls?
Murray argues Twitter is a not a great platform for:
- Gathering credible information. Murray cites the Tehran protests, where there was a steady stream of tweets purporting to be from demonstrators, but there was no reliable way to determine which tweets were genuine.
- Finding sources. You might be able to reach out to a source via Twitter, but you risk letting the competition know what stories you’re working on.
- Taking pitches for possible stories. “I don’t know why you would use Twitter instead of e-mail,” for pitching a story to a reporter, he says.
What does Twitter mean for the future of social media?
Murray says that Twitter’s shortcomings provide a real opportunity for journalists to identify credible information by acting as “curators.” One of the ways the WSJ is meeting that challenge is by launching a series of Twitter lists, compiling credible users who post useful and relevant information on a particular topic.
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