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Twitter Direct Message Change Could Make News Tips On Twitter Easier

By this point in time, every reporter has probably tried to reach out to some potential source via Twitter. It’s awkward, and often if the subject is of interest to you they’re probably inundated with other requests.

A quick search today of the phrase “reporter” & “reach” turned up examples of how most of us go about it today:
Finding sources on Twitter is awkward

See, awkward.

Not to mention exposed. What if you want to reach someone without tipping off your competition? What if you don’t want to put all your contact information out there day in and day out? What if you’re trying to reach a bunch of people — you look like a spam bot with tweet after tweet after tweet of the same thing. Plus, it gives off the “he’s just not that into me vibe” to potential sources.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to see their email address or other contact information and take the convo off Twitter where it belongs. That’s not happening. But Twitter recently made a subtle change to direct messages that over time should be good for journalists. You can direct message people who aren’t following you back.
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How To Maintain a Work Appropriate Social Media Presence

It can be hard to separate the professional from the personal, especially when it comes to social media. Many journalists seem to have a hard time keeping their thoughts to themselves these days and the results are never pretty.

Remember when Shea Allen, the former investigative reporter for WAAY in Huntsville, Ala. got fired for her controversial blog (where she confessed to, among other things, going bra-less on live TV?) Or what about the NBC staffer who was fired for posting an embarrassing video of Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show from 1994, looking foolish and wondering aloud, “What is the Internet, anyway?”

There are so many examples of employees embarrassing themselves on social media platforms (and ultimately paying the price for it). After all, we live in a world where over-sharing is the norm, and privacy has become a thing of the past. Read more

Hilarious “Mayor vs. Bear” Tweets Go Viral

A 250-pound bear climbs a tree in Connecticut, and the local mayor live tweets about it.  It sounds like a pretty standard day on Twitter, but this particular encounter was different.

It went crazy viral.

How does a seemingly ordinary alert from a mayor about a bear incident become the subject of the entire Internet’s curiosity? Well, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton’s Twitter presence explains a lot about his personality. Known for tweeting rap lyrics and maintaining a casually silly presence on the social media site, Boughton is the mayoral version of a lounge lizard compared to other high-profile political social media stars (the heroic Cory Booker, hailing one state over in New Jersey, comes to mind).

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The Onion Gets Hacked, Shares Insights

The pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army has had its fair share of huge hacking attempts. With propaganda messages spilling out from outlets like the Associated Press and The Guardian, hacks from the group have become more prevalent than ever before on media outlets.

However, they made a mistake earlier this month: hacking The Onion. The online parody newspaper seemed an unlikely target of the SEA, but the result was very similar to other outlets — multiple tweets promoting Assad and the triumph of the SEA. Most outlets who have been victims of an SEA attack have reacted by merely announcing that it happened.

That wasn’t enough for The Onion’s tech team, which decided to break down every level of SEA’s multilayer phishing attack and describe to the public, in great detail, how the SEA managed to find its way to The Onion’s accounts.

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How Every Journalist Can Get More Retweets

For better or for worse, Twitter has become an essential tool of journalists and news outlets alike. Not only can it help in discovering or reporting stories, it’s also valuable in connecting with your audience and gaining eyeballs, which is why retweets are so important. In the latest Mediabistro feature, digital media pros give advice to journos and news orgs on how to ensure that your tweets don’t fall into the Internet abyss. For example, a common rookie mistake is:

3. You don’t have the right followers

When it comes to Twitter, it’s not just the quantity of your followers that counts but also the quality of your followers. “The more influential followers you have, the more likely you are to get to retweets,” said Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University’s chief digital officer and a digital media professor at its journalism school.

Your followers’ followers can actually have a profound impact on the distance your tweets can go. “Think about the folks that are following you and who are following them,” Sreenivasan said.

Get four more tips in The Real Reason You’re Not Getting Retweeted.

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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