Posts Tagged ‘jack dorsey’


A Moment for journalism

Twitter's roll-out of Moments to everyone provides significant opportunities for journalists and news organizations to engage with their audience. (Photo: Pixabay)

Twitter’s roll-out of Moments to everyone provides significant opportunities for journalists and news organizations to engage with their audience. (Photo: Pixabay)

It was announced last week that Twitter plans to roll out Moments, its program that features content from news organizations and others, to everyone. Introduced last October, it was designed to help engage users on the social network and to attract new users, something that chief executive Jack Dorsey has been trying to do since he took over as CEO from Dick Costolo last year.

Though Twitter says it will be made available to all within the next few months, the Nieman Lab at Harvard University notes the Moments that had been started by Allure Magazine, one of the brands selected by the Twitter media team. Indeed, with this news, there is the potential for news organizations to use Moments, whether its breaking stories or providing a wrap up on a comprehensive story, like the forthcoming presidential election.

The opportunity for this roll-out of Moments allows news organizations to further engage with audiences on Twitter, in addition to disseminating news and curating conversations surrounding a topic. Indeed, the Moments used by news organizations can allow Twitter to be a platform for users to get a quick digest of the news of the day, if they don’t have time to either watch a broadcast live or visit various news sites and read.

In addition, such a digest can also be a complement to live tweeting of any story in progress, giving reason for a user to stay on Twitter to see the world unfold through the signature 140 character statuses.

Yet, most of all, Moments can provide a new way to tell stories — to chronicle the events of the world and to present them in new ways. It allows for events like elections or other events, irrespective of beat, to be written in new ways, and to be made available to the public as a miniature resource, linking back to content within their organization.

Twitter’s decision to introduce Moments to everyone is a welcome for journalism on the platform, and will bring significant benefit to the engagement strategies of news organizations. It allows more focus for Twitter to be a platform for news, and for news organizations to push their offerings on the social network, as more and more users will spend time on the platform.

It also allows news organizations to encourage users to look at their other platforms, be it web or otherwise. Whether they will come is at their discretion, as this introduction may see Twitter as a competitor to other news sites for attention, whether its a local outlet or The New York Times, as more content is being produced.

Nevertheless, this ultimately gives journalists an opportunity to ponder the craft of storytelling, and to innovate for audiences. Whether it can be successful though will be found out…in a matter of mere Moments.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributor to the SPJ blog network. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is a Managing Editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Why Twitter’s changes are good for journalism

Twitter has unveiled changes to its 140 character format in response to investor concerns on user numbers. (Photo: Anthony Quintano/Flickr)

Twitter has unveiled changes to its 140 character format in response to investor concerns on user numbers. (Photo: Anthony Quintano/Flickr)

Recently, Twitter announced plans to revise its 140 character length. The changes come as chief executive Jack Dorsey continues to try to find ways to engage new audiences with the social network, amid a history of decline of the number of users.

The most notable changes come in embedding multimedia on the platform, as the photo, video, GIF, poll or quoted tweet (a retweet with added comments from a user) will no longer be counted in the 140 characters you would have available. Additionally, when tweeting a user, the @username will also not count against the 140 characters.

It is unclear as to when the changes will specifically be rolled out, but a blog post on Twitter’s corporate web site says these features would be rolled out within the next few months.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Dorsey said the focus was on ensuring that when people tweet, it makes sense.

The soon-to-be rolled out updates are good for journalism on the platform, as users look to Twitter to engage with journalists and news organizations, either through discussions on current issues, or to be informed about events on the go. Journalists and news organizations also can do crowd sourcing on the platform, and the changes would likely allow more context to be put into a request or verification of user generated content.

Yet, the big item will come from live tweeting a story, especially a breaking news story, and how multimedia elements can help tell that story on Twitter. Journalists will be able to tell a story better on the platform with more context, alongside the photos and videos, whether its a local piece, a sports event, or a story on the forthcoming elections.

These changes allow journalists, irrespective of beat, to truly have Twitter become another platform alongside conventional platforms, to expand the two-way conversation between journalist and user, and to practice accomplished and quality storytelling.

While there is a ways to go before Twitter’s problems are properly solved, this is a step in the right direction, and will allow journalism to flourish on the social network. It will benefit not only the engagement strategies for news organizations, but to the people that matter most — the audience.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

In defense of 140 characters

Twitter turned ten years old on Monday, and as the occasion was marked, a debate continued to play out. The subject at hand was how to reverse the long term decline in users to the social network, and how chief executive Jack Dorsey plans to tackle it.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, seen in 2009, has said no to getting rid of its 140 character limit. (Photo: Brian Solis/Wikimedia Commons under CC)

One item that was being considered was expanding the character limit from its signature 140 characters to 10,000 characters. That is now not going ahead.

In an interview Dorsey gave to NBC’s Today Show on Friday, Dorsey ruled out the expansion.

“It’s staying,” Dorsey said as quoted by a report in Reuters. “It’s a good constraint for us and it allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

Twitter’s ability to have 140 characters has been good for the platform, as well as for journalists who use it. While it may cause common frustrations when constructing a tweet, the brevity that comes in the 140 characters can be beneficial for audience engagement, as users flock to the social network to get instant news and information, and might not be in a position to read, hear or watch something in-depth.

Indeed, it may only take 140 characters to tell a story and spark a discussion on an issue, which can help journalists build a following and credibility on the platform. While there are recommended ethics and tips to consider, especially in live tweeting (something I wrote about earlier this month), 140 characters has become a quintessential part of Twitter, as well as the development of its relationship with journalism, something that journalists should embrace.

Indeed, there is something that every journalist can do to make 140 character tweeting really work. Twitter, with its livewire elements, can help tell a story, but it is down to what can be offered, any bonus content or color that won’t make it onto traditional platforms, that can allow a 140 character tweet to help make your reporting stand out…something that might not have been accomplished if 10,000 characters were used.

After all, users that come to Twitter seeking instant information can also get a great story, despite the brevity.

So while Dorsey considers his next move to help boost user growth and engagement on Twitter, keeping 140 characters will keep its signature space in the social media marketplace, as well as give journalism a reason to flourish on the platform, now and for the next ten years.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Twitter’s growth poses questions for journalism

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will spend 2016 trying to figure out how to ensure user growth for the social network. (Photo: Brian Solis/Wikimedia Commons CC)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will spend 2016 trying to figure out how to ensure user growth for the social network, which could change how journalists and news organizations use the site. (Photo: Brian Solis/Wikimedia Commons CC)

Three weeks from now, we will inaugurate a brand new year — a year where the citizens of the United States go to the polls to determine their country’s future, where the intersection of social media and journalism will continue to grow, and where questions will continue to face a certain social network as to its future.

That social network is Twitter. It will celebrate its tenth birthday in 2016, and as that occasion is marked, there are a number of questions its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, is facing from investors. Yet, the most notable one has implications for the journalism community — how do you solve the issue of reversing user declines?

As Twitter began to take off, it was clear the social network could have potential in changing how journalists and news organizations work. A replica of a wire service, Twitter would be the hub of all global events, from the protests in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring, elections in the US and internationally, and the events in Ferguson, Missouri, to plenty of sports matches and awards ceremonies.

Dispatches in the form of 140 character messages would inform and enlighten millions of people of the events around them, and news organizations saw potential in aiding storytelling, whether disseminating information to new audiences, gathering sources for reporting or engaging in discussions. It was clear to the media industry that Twitter was here to stay, even as it enhanced its own business.

When the social network released its third quarter earnings, the problem of user growth was still prominent, something Dorsey and his predecessor, Dick Costolo, had to tackle.

This year, immediately after Dorsey became CEO, it unveiled Twitter Moments, known for a long time as Project Lightning, in an attempt to help news organizations with coverage, and, as Aly Keves of The Daily Dot web site said in an interview for this blog in October, paint a bigger picture as to why a particular event is trending.

However, there are still questions as to whether it can still be successful for Dorsey’s strategy, and it is unclear thus far of the wider implications Moments has had on individual newsrooms.

Twitter is also said to be testing timelines similar to that of Facebook, where instead of the live stream that has been at its core for a decade, posts would be appearing in non-chronological order. While it is uncertain if the feature is to remain, should this feature remain a part of the social network, it could mean implications on how journalists and news organizations use the service.

As we prepare to ring out the old year and bring in the new, the question of user growth will still be a constant for Dorsey and his colleagues, as they try to figure out Twitter’s role in the whole of social media. Yet, at the same time, whatever ideas that come forward may change the relationship the social network has with journalism, for better or for worse.

Let us hope Dorsey solves the issue, making investors and users happy. Otherwise, news organizations may need to bring another new item into the new year — a new social strategy.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to the SPJ blog network on British media issues and social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

New questions for a new Twitter product

Twitter is said to be introducing a product to expand its 140 character limit, according to reports. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter is said to be introducing a product to expand its 140 character limit, according to reports. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

A report emerged today that Twitter is to expand its 140 character limit, by way of a new product. According to a report from the tech news site Recode, the product would allow long form content to be published to the social network.

Twitter hasn’t unveiled any plans officially, but multiple sources with the social network told Recode that the product has the support of interim CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey and his team have been trying to fix user growth issues that were at the helm of its recent quarterly earnings. Twitter celebrates its tenth birthday next year, so if the network confirms that this product is going ahead, it may pay off in the long run for its investors and users.

For the media industry however, the news of this product presents a two-fold scenario – first, it is likely to set to compete with Facebook which has more characters to work with as well as the ability to publish long form content through Instant Articles. This may put more users off Facebook and may send more to content journalists and news organizations are promoting on Twitter.

The second is the issue of audience engagement and journalism on Twitter. With this product becoming available, there will likely be opportunities to do more when it comes to breaking news in addition to other pieces. Journalists can experiment more with Twitter and help create elements of a story that can be fresh and inviting, that allow their coverage of a particular beat or event to be distinct.

This news also comes ahead of the launch of Project Lightning, currently likely to be at the end of the year, so this may lead to new ways into how news organizations can retain and attract users of the social network.

Although very little is known about the product, it is likely to warrant a significant evaluation of a newsroom’s social strategy, and may put Twitter above other social networks. If this does indeed go ahead, it will signal not just a win for Twitter on its user growth problems, but for news organizations too, not just for content, but for engaging new audiences.

For now, however, we must wait, and see what’s in store. Perhaps, the new year may present new ideas for newsrooms, and another unique chapter in Twitter’s relationship with the journalism community.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to the SPJ blog network on British media issues and social media’s role in the future of journalism.

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Co-Student Life Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Why Twitter’s concerns are journalists’ concerns

As investors wonder what's next for Twitter, journalists are also wondering the same thing. (Image: Flickr user Anthony Quintano under CC)

As investors wonder what’s next for Twitter, journalists are also wondering the same thing. (Image: Flickr user Anthony Quintano under CC)

Twitter earlier Tuesday released its second quarter earnings. While analyst expectations for revenue were beaten, the issue that interim chief executive Jack Dorsey faces continues to be that of user growth.

The number of active users went up to 304 million compared to 302 million last quarter, but including access to the social network via messenger services like SMS, the number was 316 million, compared to 308 million last quarter, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Journalists represent a large number of the active monthly users on Twitter, and as speculation continues on whether Dorsey can ensure investors that it is on the right track, Dorsey must also convince, albeit indirectly, journalists whether Twitter is still a worthwhile platform for a social strategy.

At the core of Twitter remains the live wire element of news and information, no matter the subject, be it world affairs, sports, or that new collaboration between British electronic duo Disclosure and Grammy award winning singer Sam Smith. Many users flock to it to keep up with the events of the day, and as journalists, it has changed how we think about engaging with our audiences, and also the idea of storytelling and communication in the digital age.

Twitter has become the heart of a newsroom’s social strategy, giving organizations large and small the opportunity to develop new ways to tell stories through app integration and the 140 character bite size snapshots of the world. As the days and months proceed, Jack Dorsey must try to keep the users of Twitter happy, and that includes journalists.

One small change may make a huge difference in how Twitter can be used. It can be positive, or it can be negative. Twitter has changed journalism for the better, and helped it advance in the social age. The ball is now in Dorsey’s court to ensure that will continue.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger to Net Worked and SPJ’s community coordinator. He is also Co-Student Life editor and media correspondent for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

 

Twitter just became a better tool for journalists

Twitter logo and magnifying glassDo you remember your initial tweet?

How about the 20 or 40 tweets that followed?

The first question may be easy to answer. The second, not so much.

But Twitter just announced a way to change that. The 284-million member microblogging platform now has full indexing as well as a search service that can sift for any public tweet ever posted.

So now you can easily dig up the first-ever tweets by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in 2006, the tweets from the hundreds of people who launched a social media maelstrom this summer in Ferguson, Mo., and about half a trillion other tweets from around the globe.

Before this, only portions of Twitter’s massive archive were available, and those only since 2012.

“Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency,” said Yi Zhuang, search engineer at Twitter, in a blog post Tuesday. “But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every tweet ever published.”

This opens a door for journalists to find and understand more of the dialog generated online — dialog now considered crucial to our understanding of events and our place in them.

“This new infrastructure … (provides) comprehensive results for entire TV and sports seasons, conferences, industry discussions, places, businesses and long-lived hashtag conversations across topics such as #JapanEarthquake, #Election2012, #ScotlandDecides, #HongKong, #Ferguson, and many more,” Yi wrote.

He noted that the new search is rolling out over several days and is limited to scouring keywords, though other search elements will be added in time. Only viable tweets marked as public are searchable. Deleted tweets won’t appear, but assorted third-party tools are available to uncover those.

For now, search results appear in the “All” tab of the Twitter Web client, as well as the iOS and Android mobile apps. The interface will change as the index evolves, Yi said.

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