Love it or hate it, Twitter plays a major role in the current media landscape. It is an addictive social media platform that would start in March of 2006 out of the San Francisco digital innovation hub, offering an alternative to the Facebook behemoth.
Simple by design and easy to use, this is a site that would go on to create controversy, influence presidential elections, broadcast uprisings in the Middle East and pave the way for how individuals communicated with one and other. Before long the 140-character limit would be dismantled with 280 characters introduced in late 2017.
Of all the demographics that have utilized this app in one shape or form, it is journalists and reporters who have found value with it. It has allowed them to break out of their conventional medium and expand their audience while they undertake their work.
One of the most attractive features of using the Twitter app is that it is the best utility to document an event in real time not recorded on video. Even with the likes of IG Live and Facebook streaming, there are often lag periods where press conferences are still being set up or questions asked without any audio.
This is a means for reporters to broadcast to their followers and the world what is being said or what is being done at that specific time. Unfortunately there is no edit button, so those typos either remain on the record or the entire tweet has to be deleted.
The good news for journalists who want to engage on Twitter is that they don’t have to pay anything for the privilege. Reporters can invest a lot of money to improve their own image and build an audience from scratch, but like all quality social media sites, there is a $0 entry fee that allows them to start an account immediately.
A key feature that makes Twitter an enticing prospect for reporters is that tweets are published unfiltered. Although subjects of these tweets might still lodge legal action if they believe they are liable for slander or defamation, or if the content of the tweets violate their terms and conditions, then they will be uploaded in real time.
Building a niche with a unique audience is where Twitter really stands out as a major asset for modern reporters. It is a method of ensuring job security for those who have established a rapport with their following, giving them leverage for future job applications if they happen to surpass the 5,000, 10,000, 100,000 or 1 million mark. The job title and employer might change, but the audience will stay the same.
Journalists are like many other types of content creators when it comes to achieving exposure to the outside world. Once they manage to utilize Twitter to cover an interview, an event or detail some insider information through protected sources, that single tweet or tweet thread can go viral. It won’t be restricted by the in-built support for their publisher, their website or their broadcast outlet.
There are certainly moments where Twitter will carry an unedifying reputation as a social media platform. Without the lighthearted fun brought about by TikTok or the beautiful imagery of Instagram, it can be a utility that adversely impacts on the mental health of communities if consumed too rigorously.
With all of those talking points being explored, it is a central asset for reports and journalists who are providing essential information as it happens and where it happens. It offers independence for those that don’t want to be tied down by their employer, gives them the chance to build a brand and ensure that their audience receives critical insights when they are made aware of them.