Twitter is Weird

I attended the Town Hall Meeting in Van Munching and it was a great discussion. I'm glad I got the opportunity to sit and listen. Some topics of interest were the youth vote, race's role in the election, a "post-racial" society, and Obama's use of technology throughout the race.

Yet, I found Twitter to be a little weird. I posted a great deal throughout the hour I was there, but after a while, I noticed my posts weren't being shown in the main discussion. I'm not sure why that happened. (It made me wonder if my blogs were inappropriate or blocked or something of that nature.) This bothered me; I didn't want to keep posting once I realized no one could see my posts in the main discussion.

If there was something I missed or didn't catch, Twitter respondents immediately posted. This was helpful. However, some of the posts contained wrong information and misspelling of names (something that really bugs me). If journalists use Twitter on a regular basis, does this mean that accurate reporting will go out the window?

Any thoughts? Should journalists use Twitter?

Tweet the Night Away Nov. 5 --and Earn Extra Credit

Class, you can bump your lowest in-class grade up to an A by taking advantage of this extra-credit assignment:

"Tweet" newsy comments during a panel discussion co-hosted by the college Nov. 5, from 5-7 p.m. at Van Munching Hall. The panel will discuss the implications of the 2008 presidential elections. Among the panelists is Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Haynes Johnson from the College of Journalism.

How do you participate? First get a user account at Twitter.com.

When you get to the "What are you doing" screen, simply type in this slug for this discussion:
Leave a space after the slug, and begin typing your reasoned comment or summary of the events. Remember, you've got to be exceptionally succinct: You've got only 140 characters with each take. And please remember that the world can read your remarks.

To follow other "tweets" from classmates and others during this discussion, open up another browser window and go to:
Type in #ElectionWrap, and all the comments for this thread will display. Hit "refresh" periodically to see new comments.

We're experimenting tonight with this technology because it is increasingly being used journalistically--to find story ideas, and to send in quick updates from the field on breaking news stories.

For more on this, see grad student Laurie White's story, "All the News That's Fit to Tweet," which ran on American Journalism Review's Web site this fall.

--from Chris Harvey