This week’s readings were all about the Twittersphere, mainly what works and what doesn’t across the social platform. The first article I read was “New Twitter Analytics, 10 Quick Metrics You Can Use Today,” which was written last July when Twitter opened up their analytics to those with a Twitter login. Professionally, I use Facebook much more than Twitter, so this was an interesting article for someone who consistently tracks trends and processes analytics on Facebook. One thing I found particularly interesting is the idea that to access the analytics you had to go to a separate login page and the writer noted “it is not likely this will replace any of your existing analytics tools.” So already, even though the analytics have also been described as “pretty snazzy,” I’m thinking well what’s the point of using it if this analytic tool isn’t going to make my day easier. Based on the analytics the article covered, I’d say Twitter Analytics would be helpful to a company just starting out on Twitter, as the analytics would give you a good starting place. However, for those individuals and companies already successfully using Twitter, I’m sure they have already found another place to get the information these analytics provide.

For example, the second article covered The New York Times’ 2013 social media ups and downs and I’m sure this group of professionals weren’t waiting for Twitter to release analytics for the Times to make a mark with online users. First, this social media desk is doing something right as they had nearly 5 million people following the Times in 2013. The article noted that readers are still glued to Twitter during breaking news situations and that @nytimes is able to utilize its worldwide reporters for retweets that are normally responded to heavily by readers. Two lessons from the NYT I noted were that Twitter accounts work better when they are staffed, not automated, and that even though it’s fun to be humorous or playful in wording, the tweets seeing the most success are still those with clarity and directness. I also liked that they noted that no matter what, on social media surprises still happen.

The other articles I read this week were:

Only the literary elite can afford not to tweet – An article about how the Twitter community led one writer to a change in career from academic to freelance writer that launched a new magazines and acquired book contracts.

Suggestions (but not standards) for live tweeting – A good article about the basic dos-and-don’ts of live tweeting. If you want to live tweet, read this. Live tweeting can be hard!

Storyful’s validation process – An impressive article about how one service’s natural skepticism of every item on the web and how they discover what is true and false.

Lastly, our assignment was to find an academic article about Twitter and report the findings of the study. While the article I am going to discuss has not yet been published, it was presented at a university symposium and is in the process of being approved for publication. The article is titled: “Tweets, Polls, and Quotes: Gatekeeping and Bias in On-Screen Visuals during the Final 2012 Presidential Debate,” and it interests me because I co-authored it. The study involved the online streaming coverage of the final presidential debate, which included on-screen visuals including tweets, polls, and informational quotes. The study used a content analysis.

To summarize the findings: The article found that the majority of tweets shown as a visual during the presidential debate were from elites, such as media professionals or public figures. This suggests that the Twitter-feed gatekeeper relied on sources similar to himself/herself instead of searching the wider Twitter community using hashtags for a more diverse set of visuals. In addition, the study found that the media tends to focus on the horserace during the campaign, similar to other studies. Many of the tweets shown during the debate were oriented in this way.

The results and new tendencies for outlets to show visuals during the debates made for a interesting article. Cross your fingers it gets selected for publication!


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