Conciseness, the ability to summarise complex stories in the 140 characters demanded by microblogs such as Twitter, should already be a given.
However, some twitterati often appear to be unconcerned whether the information they distribute is correct, coherent or even recent.
After the Boston bombing in the United States this year, citizen journalists quickly named four innocent people as suspected terrorists. One of them, Sunil Tripathi, a Brown University student from Pennsylvania, is now believed to have already committed suicide. Gross inaccuracies on social media were frequently repeated, without checking, by mainstream media.
In the midst of this information storm, mainstream media which wanted to retain their credibility as news authorisers, had to develop new techniques for quick fact checking. They could do so by applying traditional journalism values to new apps.
Tweetdeck was a powerful tool which could be used to monitor and sort the deluge of information on Twitter, according to Onbile which described itself as “an online platform based on a cloud computing system”. Tweetdeck allowed users to:
- Publish in real time.
- Check accounts simultaneously.
- Manage multiple conversations and direct messages.
- View and share videos, photos.
- Program remote messages for the future.
- Follow topics and trends.
- Create Lists and use Global Filter to remove less interesting tweets or hashtag
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Social Media Producer Andrew Moon (@moontweets) , said that the “sheer amount of content” could be daunting. “Tweetdeck works by sorting the’ noise’ into manageable streams, based around searches, lists and profiles,” he said. Moon outlined how his Tweetdeck was set up:
1. Timeline – the tweets of those being followed
2. A list compiled of global breaking news accounts.
3. from:abcnews OR from:abcnews24 OR from:breakfastnews – a search pulling together tweets from the ABC’s main news accounts.
4. emergency from:cfa_updates OR from:nswrfs OR from:tasfireservice OR from:dfes_wa OR from:qldfire OR from:cfsalerts OR from:actrfs – a search to monitor emergency bushfire alerts, by scanning the tweets from these accounts for any containing the word emergency
5. Mentions of his handle
6. Direct Messages
7. @abcnews24 OR #abcnews24 – a search to monitor what the ABC audience is saying about the news channel I work for, ABC News 24.
8. #NX lang:en – again, another search, this time to monitor tweets about our social media show News Exchange.
9. Favourites – used as a way to flag content (mainly longer articles) to read later or keep a record of.
Moon said that people working in news should create “a list of what you would consider ‘breaking news’ accounts”.
I say ‘what you would consider’, because what you consider breaking news may vary depending on your beat. For example, my own breaking news list … consists mainly of international accounts (@ap, @reuters, for example), as I monitor domestic lists in different columns. One of the advantages of TweetDeck – when using it in Google’s Chrome web browser – is that it allows you to set alerts (pop up boxes or sounds) when a new tweet is sent from any members of that list. Once you’ve loaded a list, hit the small lines/edit icon in the top right corner of the list, and click Alerts to choose an option.
Moon said that after the Boston bombing, some irresponsible people were simply re-tweeting police scanner conversations, without checking whether they were correct. “After Boston, people said lets slow down for a bit” and think about what’s being distributed. Tweets were publications like anything else and should be verified before re-publishing on any media, he said.
“Twitter is like a firehouse,” Moon said, ” Tweetdeck reduces the flow to manageable levels [ to allow information to be verified] ”
- TweetDeck Ends Support for Facebook Tuesday (mashable.com)