Nine tips for using Twitter as a journalism student.

Social media is a great tool when you are a journalism student for many reasons. Finding stories, finding sources and gauging opinion on the stories you’ve written are just some of the ways you can use Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter for a number of years, but have started using it as a journalism student from September last year. Here’s my nine top tips for using Twitter as a journalism student.

1.  Tweet out when you are working on stories. It lets people know what you are doing and may get you sources and contacts which are important in the industry. It also lets people have an insight into what you are doing which can increase the impact of your story when it goes into print, online or is broadcast on the radio or on TV. People will know to expect it and if it interests them then they may read/watch/listen to it. 

Here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 21.15.33.png

© Sophie Dishman.

2. Always tweet professionally and with a purpose. I use my Twitter professionally as a journalism student as it’s the platform I use and engage with people on the most. However, I always tweet with a purpose. Either to do the above or to gauge people’s thoughts. I also use my Twitter to professionally show my work on my blog. Think to yourself: Is what I’m about to tweet professional? Does it have a purpose? What purpose is it?

Here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 22.08.03.png

© Sophie Dishman.

This is professional as I’m asking people what they think of the programme. It has a purpose as I want to gauge opinion. I had an article idea in mind and wanted to see if I could get any responses. The hashtag helped a little

This brings me onto the next point: hashtags.

3. Look out for trending hashtags or hashtags in general. If you look at what’s trending it can give you story ideas – on a local, national or international scale. It can help you find the zeitgeist – what people are talking about. Hashtags are also a great way to find out what’s happening at the moment in your local area. They are also used at events, on special occasions and on specific days/weeks/months that are significant to many things. Keep an eye out for them! 

4. Use it as a platform to share your work. I use my Twitter as an extension of my journalism portfolio. I put my work on there to showcase it to future people and organisations who may take me on for a work placement, an internship and maybe even a job! It opens up my work to another audience. Share all of your work on there as your journalism portfolio online should showcase your best work!

Here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 22.11.40.png

© Sophie Dishman.

5. Follow journalists, organisations and other individuals who inspire you. If you have a particular interest or passion within journalism or in any other area follow people and organisations that match that. I was given the advice of following people who’s job you are interested in within journalism. If you are a sports journalism student, follow people in sports. Fashion journalism? People in the fashion industry. News journalism? Magazine journalism? Broadcast journalism? You get the picture. I did this from the outset and it’s benefited me a lot.

6. Give credit to people. When you are quoting a tweet/retweet use via @(the person’s name) or h/t @(the person’s name). It shows people where you got your thoughts from. You do it in an essay so it’s good practice to do it on Twitter.

7. Engage with people. Engagement is key on Twitter as it’s a two way conversation. Talk to people and ask questions! You should also respond in a timely manner too. If you can’t reply straight away, reply as soon as you can! If a tweet comes in a 3am though, that’s understandable! 

8. Make use of the Twitter lists feature. Want to find a source who works in a particular area fast? Fashion? Science? Technology? Business? Education? I could go on. It’s a great way to get to contacts and sources fast. I have a few lists and will definitely be creating more in the future.

9. Remember to think before you post! This is so important. Check your tweet for spelling and grammar as well as legal and ethical issues too!

Have I forgotten anything? Is there anything you can add? What are your top tips for using Twitter?

Let me know in the comments section below or on my social media accounts.


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