Citizen Media Watch

november 28th, 2008

Good use of microblogging in journalism – give us more examples!

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Whether status updates on social media sites should count as microblogging or not, the walled garden that Facebook still is to a large extent, makes status updates if not useless from a publishing perspective then atleast difficult to accommodate as they are on an open to all site. The same goes for users whose updates are not public on regular microblogging services. For crowdsourcing, feedback and research they are still good tools.

There are good examples of microblogging serving a journalistic purpose, though these initiative do not necessarily come from professional journalists.

  • The Twitter Vote Report is one, where Americans across the country made short reports on how the voting in the US election was really going, using hashtags to pinpoint where they were and what their report was about, for instance #machine for problems with the voting machines. They also reported on waiting times. It all ended up on a big map where you could follow the progress in real time.
  • Get eye-witness reports and comments. For instance check out this Twitter channel on the bombings in Mumbai. More on the Mumbai coverage here.
  • Live reporting from an event. By using an established microblogging site you get comments from site members and you invite them in a natural way.
  • Live commentary to tv shows. One example is Drive on Fox.
  • Coming up with questions for interviews. By asking people what they want to know from a person you’re to interview you get more interesting questions, and you know you’re asking stuff your audience want to know.
  • Local news gathering. Here’s an interesting example from Harrisonburg, VA. Or even as a source for bigger breaking news.
  • Cynthia McCune talks about microblogging as a ”21st century police scanner”, listing these uses for reporters: keep up with sources, get quick feedback, get referrals, post live updates to sport scores.
  • Breaking news. Anders Brenna at digi.no writes: ”Twitter is both the perfect journalist tool for being first with breaking news, and the best relief from the tyranny of breaking news.” Super-fast publishing of the latest news without risking that the reader won’t come to your site for the full story. You can even send a message and point to it once it’s out.
  • Paul Bradshaw has some advice for anyone wanting to use microblogging to cover a topic. Check out the comments too for a few ideas on good use.
  • Another post on how news makers have to change and use micro-blogging tools.

Do you have more good examples? We’ll collect them and update this list (giving you credit, of course).

Also, here’s some advice on what not to do.


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november 27th, 2008

Are status updates on social media sites a form of microblogging?

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Microblogging services like Jaiku or Twitter, which recently passed its 1 billionth tweet (via Media Culpa), are immensely popular, and some even say they’ll completely take over from regular blogs.

But what is the definition of a microblogging service? Does it need to be focused/dedicated to microblogging, or can it be a social media site having a microblogging component? The question arose at SIME, where Andie Nordgren posed a question from the audience: Is Facebook the world’s largest microblogging service?
Net Jacobsson, Director of International Business Development at Facebook, hasn’t thought of status updates as microblogging, and I guess that’s quite understandable as it’s not their focus.

What do you think? Are status updates on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn a form of microblogging? On which services do you actively update your status, and what kind of information do you put there? Give us your comments!


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