A TV news competitor told me that was the marching order from management prior to covering a routine — and it turned out, rather dull — court hearing.
This would surprise nobody who actually has to suffer through the Twitter feeds of local news folk, who grind out 140 word bits of minutiae at a remarkable rate. Occasionally, some of these feeds will actually school the reader. Sometimes, they break actual news.
Mostly, they deaden the senses — especially in instances like the lamentable court hearing, where reporters are expected to tweet just for the sake of tweeting.
At this point, I have to admit to a limited understanding of social media as it applies to the news business.
I realize that social media is a promotional tool that can be used to put eyeballs on your web site– and maybe even your old-fashioned Technicolor TV news broadcast in high definition.
Social media can also build your credibility. If @richardsdoug can consistently tell you something you didn’t know before, maybe there’s a chance you’ll follow that guy all the way into the commercial break following the A-block of the 6pm newscast– and even stay tuned through sports.
My Twitter feed is an erratic thing, however. I try to limit my use of it to items of real interest. If it’s real breaking news of course, I’ll try to suspend my coverage of such news long enough to tap out a tweet. If there’s a genuinely interesting detail that surfaces about an ongoing story, I’ll tweet it. If my TV story du jour actually stands out, I’ll promote it on the Twitter with a push to our newscast.
Mostly, I save the Twitter feed for stuff that I think is just weird, or humorous. If I can conjure up something witty, I’m on it. A quick scan of my feed in recent months shows mostly a dearth of material.
This means that a lot of the work I do, and the stuff I learn, never makes the Twitter feed. I don’t promote every single blessed story I spend all day producing, mostly out of respect to the people who have found my feed and clicked “follow.”
There are reasons to clog the feed with crapola, though. There’s a thing called Klout, which measures your “influence” on the internet. More tweets / retweets bumps the score. Lots of “likes” on Facebook and Instagram and whatnot help. Having a blog helps.
And there’s the whole issue of bragging rights. If you have more “followers” than me, then you’re a winner in life’s ongoing popularity contest. Throw more muddy tweets against a wall, and maybe more followers will stick.
There’s no doubt I’m failing to use Twitter properly. I ought to promote this site more on Twitter. I ought to figure out how to properly use hashtags.
Yet when I view Twitter, I see other TV newsflolk tapping out material I have zero interest in reading. They can be that guy. I’m not interested.
Either that, or I’m just too lazy or too distracted to do it with the singlemindedness that’s necessary to do today’s multimedia multitasking, multiplying the merriment of minutiae.
Hey, I kinda like that. I think I’ll tweet it.
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