What’s it like to live tweet a political debate?

Today has been an amazing day for me to test out my social media skills and to enhance my political knowledge. Why? Well…today the University of Sunderland hosted a political debate with Kevin Maguire and Andrew Pierce. If you don’t know who they are you can have a look who they are here and here. But who the debate was between isn’t too important as I wanted to share my experience of live tweeting.

So the first question I should probably answer is what is live tweeting? For me, it’s when you tweet as soon as something is happening. It won’t be to the second of course, but it is as immediate as we can get it. It’s like live blogging – but on Twitter.

I’ve live tweeted a few events before but this one was different. I enjoy Kevin Maguire’s writing and Andrew Pierce’s writing and I also like it when they debate. It’s not to say I don’t like or find other events I live tweet, it’s just this time there was so much I wanted to share!

At the beginning it was great as there wasn’t too much going on – just two empty chairs.


And then it began…

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Both Kevin and Andrew are passionate debaters so luckily there were set questions for the first 45 minutes or so. This made things a little easier when it came to live tweeting. The trick is to get information down fast enough so you can then tweet it out.

You have to be listening as well as writing and making sure it’s accurate – which can be quite a task! As I don’t know shorthand, the writing part took longer, then I had to tweet it mentioning both of their names as well as the hashtag #MaguireVsPierce. It definitely gets the adrenaline pumping!

As well as this I had to remember to use pictures where I could. This is something I’m not used to doing a lot of but I tried with the two pictures above. It’ll take some practice and I would’ve liked to have gotten some videos too, but it just wasn’t possible unfortunately.

Despite all of this, live tweeting an event like this is amazing. You’ll know by now that I’m passionate about politics and the debate was very diverse so I was gaining new knowledge too as well as putting my skills into practice. It was definitely a great hour for developing my journalism skills.

I’d definitely recommend live tweeting a debate or an event to any journalism student and I hope I get more opportunities to do so in the future!

But in short – hectic but so much fun!


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