|On Saturday, at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists, I gave a talk to an audience of mostly journalists explaining the basics of blogs, social media, and search visibility. People had lots of questions, more than I could get to in the session. I was getting stopped in halls, at parties, and even in bathrooms, to be asked things like, “Does it really make that big a difference if I blog under my own domain?” (Answer: Yes!)
OK, I don’t mind answering those questions. That’s really why I went to this conference — because I know that journalists (many of whom are facing potential layoffs, or who have already been laid off) are in dire need of online media awareness and skills.
So I’m going to do a bunch of posts answering questions, because it’s more efficient to do that via blogging. This is one of those posts.
By now you’ve probably heard about Twitter, the social media service that allows you to publish posts of 140 characters max.
What Twitter does, in a nutshell: This service allows you to receive posts (“tweets”) from other Twitter users whom you choose to “follow.” Likewise, other Twitter users can choose to follow you. When you follow someone on Twitter, their tweets show up in reverse chronological order in the “tweetstream” that scrolls down the Twitter home page when you’re logged in. The effect is somewhat like an ongoing Headline News version of what’s happening in the minds and worlds of people you know or find interesting.
Twitter also supports rudimentary public and private conversation between users.
THE VALUE OF TWITTER
In my experience, Twitter’s biggest payoff is that it allows you to gather a personal posse who can support you in powerful, flexible, speedy ways.
Also, if you’re choosy about the people you follow, Twitter can be quite an effective radar screen for news or relevant issues.
But there are many other potential benefits, especially for journos…