The Power of Twitter

Posted on: February 26, 2012

How the ultimate media platform took me by surprise.

Some may say the influence of the ‘Twitterverse’ is exaggerated, over-hyped and glamorised. I agree; it’s endorsement by every brand and celebrity figure under the sun is perhaps a little overbearing – especially for those who haven’t caught onto it.

As a journalist, though, the platform is the ultimate connectivity tool for the twenty first century. 140 characters with interwoven tags and mentions can be empowering for everyone with  access, allowing us to become more connected with the growing possibilities of ‘web 2.0‘ that surround us.

It is hardly a revolutionary statement to say that Twitter (alongside Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) has changed the nature of journalism forever. Professionals and rising amateurs can provide up-to-the-second information on the latest happenings and trends around the globe. Now our days, personal interviews and contact information can be accessed in just a moment over the web.

Journalists are finding sources, the right people and valuable material through their connected Twitter  feeds and lists. Furthermore, news can spread at speed never seen before. You simply can’t come across anything online without seeing a share, comment or rate button – it seems the interactive dynamics of the internet are beginning to be used to their advantage.

After my personal experience of this, I decided to use my own work as an example of just how powerful Twitter can be…

This is my original tweet on the afternoon of February 16th. After publishing a story I sourced and wrote up onto my blog about a local artist, I tweeted about it with the tags #Bournemouth and #Westbourne to make the information searchable to anyone looking up the areas. Secondly, I directly @ mentioned a Bournemouth news twitter account and the artist himself, the Twitter username ‘urbanartistsoap’. Well, this was just me being a good journalism student. I had not prepared for what came next.

The post was retweeted 6 times in just a few hours by the artist, friends and a few unknown people. The interesting thing is, these unknown people, and those who follow them, all ended up following me because of one tweet. (See below).

As my story began to spread across Twitter, it also appeared on other social networks like Facebook and community-based blog sites (see below). The integration of Twitter on Facebook amplifies posts across the two sites, reaching wider audiences simultaneously.

By this point I was surprised at just how suddenly the story rapidly spread and the amount of online readers that were interested in the piece. The artist himself was very pleased with it and urged his many followers to follow me, before offering me some work experience – yes, in a tweet! Whilst this opportunity came out of the blue, none of it would have happened had I not tweeted my article with the right @mentions and #hashtags to get it out there.

My blog statistics the following day showed that it boosted my page views significantly too..

Surely this demonstrates the incredible capabilities of Twitter, as an information distributor with a whole lot of clout. It is no wonder that journalists are reconsidering their traditional roles and newsrooms are changing how they disseminate their news.

Engaging with where the audience are based rather than waiting for them to come to the news is the fundamental change of practice here. Journalists are now fighting not only a declining newspaper readership, but the diverse and social means of aggregating news content online too.

For the article in reference, see my previous post below.


1 Response to "The Power of Twitter"

[…] sharing over Facebook drew large numbers of readers to my blog, as my following post detailed (https://elliottkeene.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/the-power-of-twitter/). I feel this blog post in particular is important, as I learnt how my observation that ‘everyone […]

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