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#Tip: Add a filter to hide royal baby tweets

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

As journalists most of us are familiar with setting up columns in TweetDeck or other apps to display tweets containing certain keywords.

One of the features added to TweetDeck earlier this year lets you exclude certain words or users from a column.

If you find your Twitter stream becomes busy with a topic you are not interested in you can filter out those tweets.

You can do so by clicking on the arrow at the top of any of column and specifying words to exclude.

tweetdeck-filter

And if you are not interested in royal baby news, the Guardian has added a ‘republican’ button to its homepage which hides coverage.

Last year the news site had a button to hide news on the Olympics, and in 2011 offered an option to omit royal wedding coverage.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet gave its readers the choice of a ‘Breivik-free’ version during the trial of Anders Behring Breivik.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Give the new Tweetdeck a second chance

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

If you were one of those people who downloaded the new Twitter-owned Tweetdeck when it was announced in December only to quickly revert to using the original, this post by Storyful may change your mind about Twitter’s offering and encourage you to revisit the new version.

Storyful is a social news wire where journalists search the social web for stories, verify the information and pass that on to news outlets who pay for the service. As filtering the social media chaos is Storyful’s bread and butter, it is worth taking a lead from them on tools to use.

In the post fantastically headlined ‘how I learned to stop worrying and love the new Tweetdeck‘, Felim McMahon spells out why journalists should use Tweetdeck, takes you through features and new version updates, giving useful pointers on Twitter lists and adding Facebook accounts.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

 

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Ten technical Twitter tips for journalists

So you think you know Twitter? But do you know how to archive tweets, set up an RSS feed of a Twitter stream or have private group chat?

Here are some practical, technical tips to help you:

1. Learn to love Twitter’s own advanced search. Since being updated earlier this year, Twitter’s search options have become much more powerful than they once were. You can use the advanced search page, but it’s worth learning a few shortcut commands you can use on the Twitter homepage. For example,

Type to: in the search box on Twitter’s home page to get messages sent to you or to a particular username.

Find local tweets using near: and within: This is a tip sent by journalism student Jeroen Kraan @KraanJ when we were discussing Twitter tips on @journalismnews.

There is a list of more Twitter advanced search commands here.

2. Search tweets using Topsy. Topsy is Google for social media, a search engine that allows you dig part way into the unimaginably vast Twitter archive.

3. Get to know other search tools. Search tweets using Snap Bird. This is a really handy tool that allows you to search a user’s timeline or your own account. Try PostPost to search and “strip search” your timeline. PostPost will ask for your email address, send you a link and then you can dig deep within your timeline, searching for a specific hashtag or user.

4. Set up an RSS feed. You can set up feeds of your own or any other user’s Twitter updates.

To add a feed of tweets from a user copy and paste the following, replacing xxxx with the user name.

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/xxxx.rss.

This method doesn’t work for Google Reader but is compatible with RSS readers such as NetNewsWire.

To set up a keyword RSS feed use the following URL, replacing Journalism.co.uk / journalism jobs with your search query.

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=journalism.co.uk

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=journalism jobs

There’s also this really handy tool from Sociable.co. This allows you to set up an RSS feed for a username, Twitter list or keyword.

5. Archive your tweets. You can archive a hashtag or tweets sent from your account or another user’s account using Twapperkeeper. This is a particularly useful way if you want to search for a tweet you sent some months or even years ago.

6. Verify tweets. The HoverMe browser extension for Chrome is useful for verifying Twitter sources. Once installed and you hover over a Twitter profile photograph, you can see what other online accounts that user has and although not fool-proof, it will give you some idea of whether they are a real person with LinkedIn, YouTube and Delicious accounts and, helpfully, a Klout score, which measures online influence.

7. Here’s a tip for TweetDeck users who share the management of a Twitter account. One limitation of TweetDeck is the inability to be able to create a column of tweets sent from your account, something you can do in other applications such as HootSuite. The workaround is to set up a new Twitter account, follow the one (or more) account you manage and set up a TweetDeck column for “all friends”. This is our solution at Journalism.co.uk, where several people respond to tweets.

For this to work you must always use a character before the @ as tweets beginning @username can only be seen by people who follow you and that person.  For example, use .@joebloggs and not @joebloggs when writing tweets that begin with a username.

8. Have private, group chats by starting tweets with !b. New Twitter tool !blether allows you to start a group, private chat with people who follow you. After authenticating this tool you can use !b at the beginning for a tweet to begin a conversation. Useful for chats during conferences.

9. Monitor Twitter lists. How often do you make use of other people’s Twitter lists? Journalists seem to frequently overlook these existing lists where people have already done the legwork for you in terms of collating lists of useful people to follow. For example, a journalist following a story such as an uprising in an Arab country, a financial story or celebrity gossip can simply follow a list someone else has created.

Did you know that Journalism.co.uk has Twitter lists for UK regional journalists, UK broadcast journalists, UK press public relations, UK consumer journalists, etc? Send us a tweet if we have missed adding you to the correct list.

10. Familiarise yourself with how to read and send tweets via SMS. You never know when you might need to send or read a tweet via SMS. Even if you have a smartphone you may find yourself unable to use a 3G or WiFi signal. The number you need to save in your contacts is 86444 (for UK Vodafone, Orange, 3 and O2 customers). (Other country codes are listed here.) The command you need to remember or to save is ON. Text ON to the above number and you will be able to follow the commands to receive and send tweets.

Helpful links:

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TweetDeck rebuilds its iPhone app

TweetDeck has redesigned rebuilt its iPhone app from scratch. Version 2 is available now and allows users to access feeds from Twitter and Facebook.

The new app has been designed by the team that developed the Android app, which has been nominated for a Webby Award.

YouTube is currently down, so the embedded video supposed to appear here is not displaying. We will put it back as soon as YouTube is back on its feet.

 

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Poynter Online: Social media literacy is goal for Sky News’ digital staff

Following Journalism.co.uk’s report in January that Sky News is installing Twitter application Tweetdeck on the computers of all its newsroom staff, Poynter has an update on the roll-out from executive producer Julian March:

March is so serious about its value that he is making social media literacy an objective on his digital media staff’s performance reviews. “I want to see social media become a part of the fabric of the day-to-day work,” he said.

Full post at this link…

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Ten things every journalist should know in 2010

January 4th, 2010 | 50 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

This is an update on a post I wrote at the beginning of last year – Ten things every journalist should know in 2009. I still stand by all those points I made then so consider the following 10 to be an addendum.

1. How to monitor Twitter and other social media networks for breaking news or general conversations in your subject area using tools such as TweetDeck. Understand and use hashtags.

2. You are in control. Don’t become a slave to technology, make it your slave instead. You will need to develop strategies to cope with information overload – filter, filter, filter!

3. You are a curator. Like it or not, part of your role will eventually be to aggregate content (but not indiscriminately). You will need to gather, interpret and archive material from around the web using tools like Publish2, Delicious and StumbleUpon. As Publish2 puts it: “Help your readers get news from social media. More signal. Less noise.”

4. Your beat will be online and you will be the community builder. Creating communities and maintaining their attention will increasingly be down to the efforts of individual journalists; you may no longer be able to rely on your employer’s brand to attract reader loyalty in a fickle and rapidly changing online world (see 7).

5. Core journalistic skills are still crucial. You can acquire as many multimedia and programming skills as you want, but if you are unable to tell a story in an accurate and compelling way, no one will want to consume your content.

6. Journalism needs a business model. If you don’t understand business, especially the business you work for, then it’s time to wake up. The reality for most journalists is that they can no longer exist in a vacuum, as if what they do in their profession is somehow disconnected from the commercial enterprise that pays their wages (one side effect of journalists’ attempts to ‘professionalise’ themselves, according to Robert G Picard). That does not mean compromising journalistic integrity, or turning into solo entrepreneurs; rather it means gaining an understanding of the business they are in and playing a part in moving it forward.

As former Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves said in his excellent speech to Warwick Business School last year: “You cannot be an editor in today’s media environment without also being a businessman. It might say editor on my business card, but really, I am in the business of making news profitable and budgets, targets and performance are as important to me as words and newsprint.”

OK, you may not be an editor yet but that is no excuse, and it is probably easier to innovate while you are still working on the coalface without managerial responsibilities. Plus, in some cases, your editor may be part of the problem.

7. You are your own brand – brand yourself online! I’m not talking bylines here – you need to build yourself an online persona, one that earns you a reputation of trustworthiness and one that allows you to build fruitful relationships with your readers and contacts. You can no longer necessarily rely on having a good reputation by proxy of association with your employer’s brand. And your reputation is no longer fleeting, as good as your last big story – there is an entire archive of your content building online that anyone can potentially access.

Obvious ways to do this: Twitter, Facebook, personal blogging, but you can also build a reputation by sharing what you are reading online using social bookmarking sites like Publish2 and delicious (see 3).

8. You need to collaborate! Mashable suggests seven ways news organisations could become more collaborative outside of their own organisations, but this could also mean working with other journalists in your own organisation on, for example, multimedia projects as MultimediaShooter suggests or hook up with other journalists from other publications as Adam Westbrook suggests to learn and share new ideas.

9. Stories do not have to end once they are published online. Don’t be afraid to revise and evolve a story or feature published online, but do it transparently – show the revisions. And don’t bury mistakes; the pressure to publish quickly can lead to mistakes but if you admit them honestly and openly you can only gain the respect of your readers.

10. Technology is unavoidable, but it is nothing to fear and anyone of any age can master the basics. If you do nothing else, set up a WordPress blog and experiment with different templates and plugins – I promise you will be amazed at what you can achieve and what you can learn in the process.

    Learn more practical advice on the future of journalism at our news:rewired event at City University in London on 14 January 2010.

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    Twitter workshop for journalists shared – courtesy of Globe & Mail’s Matthew Ingram

    That’s the spirit! The slides from a Twitter workshop for journalists are shared online at this link, and also embedded below.

    Matthew Ingram, communities editor at the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper, ran a training session for his colleagues recently on how to get the most out of Twitter. He writes on his blog:

    “I tried to make a number of points in the workshop, among them that Twitter is extremely simple to use (so why not give it a shot); that yes, it has a silly name, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful or valuable (Google had a silly name at one point too); that it is a great way of a) reaching out to and connecting with users, b) promoting our stories and c) finding sources for stories (otherwise known as ‘real people’); and that there are a number of tools that can make it even more useful (Tweetdeck, etc.).”

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    Hitwise: ‘Guardian receives more traffic from Twitter than competitors’

    March 16th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism, Traffic

    This bit of the post is buried right down, but Hitwise’s latest analysis indicates that:

    “…the Guardian currently receives more traffic [via Twitter] than any of its competitors. And not only is its homepage the top recipient of Twitter traffic, but three of its sections (Technology, Comment is Free, and Media) also appear in the top 10.”

    The data Hitwise has collected also shows “last week Twitter received more UK internet visits than the homepages of the Guardian, Times, Sun and Telegraph. It also over took Google News UK.”

    There are a couple of caveats, however. Robin Goad reports:

    • that traffic refers to “newspapers’ main homepages; although in every case these do receive the majority [of] each title’s visits”.
    • they are “only measuring traffic to the Twitter homepage and not hits via third party applications such as Tweetdeck or Twitterrific”.

    Full post and explanation at this link…

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    How to: Track a conversation in Twitter

    Twitter is increasingly being used by journalists to make contacts and track news events, but the Twitter user-interface (UI) itself is pretty limited making it difficult to track conversations. Fortunately its open API structure and the ability to subscribe to various types of RSS feeds from Twitter means there are a number of ways to track a ‘buzz’ around an event or specific conversations.

    Hashtags are one way to identify conversations based around particular subjects or events. If you don’t already use them, you might have at least seen them being used by others in your network. Basically it’s a keyword that you use in your Twitter post to associate it with a group, topic, or event. For example, every Monday night there is debate on Twitter ‘hosted’ under the hashtag #journchat, aimed at public relations professionals and journalists. If you consider that an unholy mix, then there is a tag just for journalists #journ plus other, less popular, variants such as #mediachat and #journalism.

    Another common usage for hashtags is at events. For example, our senior reporter Laura Oliver recently attended the Oxford Media Convention and was one of several journalists Twittering using the hashtag #omc09 (Journalism.co.uk has a dedicated Twitter channel for live event coverage – @journalism_live).

    So if you want to monitor posts with those hashtags, one simple way is to create an RSS feed based on a keyword search of Twitter or, better still, Twemes. But there are also a number of other tools you can use to track conversations.

    Tools:

    TweetDeck – This desktop application (still in beta) enables you to split all the Tweets you receive into topic or group specific columns. The default columns can contain all tweets from your timeline, @replies directed to you and direct messages. You can also make up additional, live-updating columns using the ‘group’ (to create a sub-group of just your favourite Twitterers, for example), ‘search’ and ‘replies’ buttons. You can also filter each column to include or exclude items based on keywords or users. Unfortunately it does not support multiple Twitter accounts (otherwise I would definitely prefer it as my main Twitter client to Twhirl).

    Tweet Grid – This is a browser-based application that allows you to search for up to nine different topics, events, conversations, hashtags, phrases, people, groups, etc. As new tweets are created, they are automatically updated in the grid. One particularly neat feature is that it can automatically add hashtags if you Tweet directly from their web page.

    Monitter – A browser-based application that is very similar to Tweet Grid except it is prettier and you can search for Tweets made within a certain distance of a chosen location. A widget is available for your blog or website but you would need to know a little html to install it.

    Roomatic – A browser-based application that creates an output page of Tweets based on a keyword or hashtag. Unfortunately it does not seem to do much else but could be handy if you need to direct readers to a page containing live updates on a particular event or topic.

    TwitterThreads – A browser-based application that threads your twitter feed, making it easier to follow conversations or connected Tweets. However, it does not seem to keep the threads together for long, or in quantity.

    Tweetchat – A browser-based application that allows you to monitor and chat about one topic. You can tweet directly from the page and it will automatically add the hashtag of whatever ‘room’ you are in. The Twitter stream live updates.

    Tweetree – A browser-based application that puts your Twitter stream in a tree so you can see the posts people are replying to in context (but does not properly thread them). It also pulls in lots of external content like twitpic photos, youtube videos etc.

    Can you recommend any other tools? Let me know in the comments.

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