After the initial crushing blow of learning that I couldn’t simply post up (yet) another match report to win the blogging competition, I pulled myself together and penned this piece on Twitter.


To tweet or not to tweet?

That is the question facing many of today’s journalists. With increasing numbers of people keeping their followers up to date with what they are doing, hacks are starting to examine the opportunities this latest social networking craze offers.

It is a question that has also sparked a healthy debate on the CfJ website a few weeks ago.

After Laura‘s presentation in Convergent Journalism the other week we all know the premise behind Twitter: tell the world what you’re doing, in less than 140 characters.

Some argue it is simply a chance for people to post trivial updates about the mundane occurrences in their daily life. For example, Joe Bloggs could tweet that he is currently (stop the press) eating a piece of toast.

Others argue that it has its uses for journalists. I fall into this camp.

Of course it can be used for trivial nonsense that no one outside of your circle of friends will be interested in, but there are many ways journalists can utilise it to their benefit.

You could use it to quickly check the latest headlines. Media organisations are already establishing a presence on the platform. Sky News, BBC News and the Guardian all have Twitter accounts which are updated with the latest articles from their websites, with a link provided to the original piece.

A whole myriad of organisations, companies and personalities (most notably Stephen Fry) have Twitter accounts. The afore mentioned media organisations are paying attention to the opportunities Twitter offers and clearly wouldn’t be dabbling in it if they didn’t think it was of some use to them.

Although it might not be feasible for us to have one, the Twitter wall idea featured in an article from Ian’s delicious feed is another way the media can use Twitter to their benefit.

Since we started the course in September, there have been countless examples of Twitter being put to good use.

The first picture of the plane that crashed into the Hudson river was posted on Twitter.

Sky News’ used Twitter to keep users of the channel’s website updated with the scene outside Jade Goody’s home after she died, and also during her funeral.

The channel also utilised the service to cover the G20 Protests. The length of Tweets proved perfect for quick updates on the latest developments in the protests, such as the windows of an Royal Bank of Scotland being smashed.

I first found out about the shooting of PC Steven Caroll in Northern Ireland via Twitter. I just happened to check the Twitter app on my iPhone before I went to sleep.

I can also use Twitter to alert people when I post something on my blog, whenever me and Nick get round to finishing it that is.

So to sum up, I think Twitter can be used by us journalists to help us do our jobs.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. 


I mostly have no problem with Twitter and it is very useful for journalists and as a news service as you say. But perhaps this is a silly opinion, but the name "tweet" to me sounds ridiculous quite frankly. Asking butch blokes to post their views via "tweets" on Five Live football phone-ins would probably prompt curious, offensive responses inappropriate for airing, like, "You want me to f***ing what, son..." after a few "bevvies".

Okay, perhaps that's a load of cobblers. But, why can't Twitter just say "post" a message, rather than "tweet"? There's just something cringe laden and cheesy about it and fits in with management types' necessity to try and "get down with the kids", so to speak. It's the sort of rubbish you'd see from some high-flying yuppy idiot on The Apprentice who thinks he/she knows it all.

It's probably a juvenile gripe of mine I know, just it takes the butchness and seriousness away from something which is meant to be an efficient and newsworthy messaging service.

Surely it's a bit confusing for some people who haven't used the service or heard the term before to then hear "tweet"? Ah well, I suppose it's innovative and catchy and people get used to it. Besides, I suppose "posting" a message compared to "tweeting" it would sound a bit tedious. 

However, I do agree that Twitter's a good news source and well done Alan, you may get your hands on the ITunes vouchers. Well, once Ian finally gets to uni to give you the vouchers after his long and tiring journey in the AA truck after being stranded on the M25 for the 50th time :D.  - Stuart Wilson's Online assignment: 0% :( haha.

I found this really interesting, or it might just be my geeky side shining through. It's two quotes from a cheeky little interview I had with Joe Braidwood from Sky:

The first bit is on why they introduced it, the second is an example of its speed.

"It was also back when our previous publishing system could take up to 10 minutes to get a story live, so the appeal of an instant update was very strong -- in line with our policy of being the first for breaking news."

"We sent Julia Reid to the Fritzl trial, where she broke lines from the court case before they hit the wires -- a massive advantage on all platforms as we even had people in the TV gallery reading her updates." 

Twitter: useful tool or trivial distraction?