Wikipedia sez: “A Lightning Talk is a short presentation given at a conference or similar forum. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks last only a few minutes and several will usually be delivered in a single period by different speakers.”
This particular lightning talk was delivered to the ProPublica newsroom a couple weeks ago. To experience it best, open all the links in tabs, print the talk, then read through it and flip the tabs as quickly as possible. (Warning: may cause seizures.)
Really, what’s Twitter?
- It’s a venue for conversation.
- You speak on Twitter by posting a tiny bit of text called a ‘tweet.’
- You’re heard by people who choose to ‘follow’ you.
- The tweets of people you follow are aggregated on your Twitter home page.
So it’s like a blog?
- No. Yes. Sort of. Some people tweet like it’s a little blog, but they’re a bore. One-way tweeting is lame.
- Compelling twitterers participate in the conversation.
- Instead of a blog, try to think of Twitter as a giant coffee house — or maybe, the biggest chat room, ever.
…so, how does this all work?
Replies, retweets and links, oh my!
- To address someone, use @ + their twitter user name, like @propublica.
- To reply, start your tweet with @username.
- To spread a good tweet around, retweet it with “RT @username”
- Since each character is precious, folks use sites like tinyurl.com and bit.ly to shrink links.
Searches, hashtags, and trends
- To see what folks are saying about a topic, search for it.
- Some clever folks devised a way to corral a conversation topic
using search. By putting # + a topic name, a ‘hashtag’ in your tweet.
Twitter chats and live event coverage happen this way.
- Other, cleverer, people are using search to drive applications that aggregate and visualize Twitter trends.
The Twitter website sucks
- Desktop applications like Twhirl and TweetDeck make Twitter immediate. You use them to tweet and to see replies and search results, live, similar to how you’d use Gchat or AIM.
I know kung fu.
- Twitter can be like your own Headline News, but tuned to your
interests. You can know, to the moment, what’s happening with people
and topics you care about.
- With a well-configured TweetDeck, you can hear the Internet hum.
- We call this experience “ambient intimacy.”
…Twitter for journalists
Tweet your beat
- Find something interesting? Tweet it. Put your raw ideas out there and engage your fellow nerds in a conversation.
Ask for help
Find a job
- I tweeted two weeks ago that my friend wanted a job at Playboy. Jimmy Jellinek called her last week, and this morning she got the job. I’m not trying to take credit for this, but it really was all me.
And remember, if you don’t tweet, they will.
- Dana Milbank recently wrote this regarding congresspeople tweeting during Obama’s not state of the union (hashtag #nsotu):
Some members called it a new age of transparency, a bold new frontier in democracy. But to view the hodgepodge of text messages sent from the House floor during the speech, it seemed as if Obama were presiding over a support group for adults with attention-deficit disorder.
- Dana Milbank is a hater. Don’t listen. This is important.
- “Every time I send out a tweet, I’m throwing another shovel of dirt to help bury the old media.” sez Republican rep @johnculbertson
- Explaining Twitter to journalists (by @yelvington)
- How We Use Twitter for Journalism (by @rww)
- A non-fanatical beginner’s guide to Twitter (by @randomdeanna)
- So You’re Following Me on Twitter (by @anamariecox)
- Congresspeople on Twitter