Twitter and Periscope master class for journalists – know-how from an expert

A master class on the technical know-how of the social network Twitter and its most recent takeover Periscope was given by Livia Iacolare, manager media partnerships with Twitter Italy, on 7 April as part of the programme of the of the tenth edition of the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Iacolare presented the most recent data, according to which some 1 billion tweets are sent every two days on Twitter which has about 320 million monthly active users. In addition, the latest statistics show that the app Persicope had more than 200 million broadcasts as of March 2016 and more than 10 million accounts as of July 2015. According to Iacolare, the fact that every day 110 years of videos are watched on Persicope speaks of the successful development of the company and contrary to the rumors of crisis due to competition from rival companies such as Google and its video sharing portal YouTube.

“One can look at Twitter as a big square with four main features – it is live, public, conversational and distributed”, said Iacolare and elaborated on the main strengths of the social network related to detecting information, narrating, enriching one’s profile and interacting with other users.

The expert believes that in order to have an outstanding profile on Twitter one needs to realize that the social network is not only for journalists and media professionals, and that a differentiation between the various types of followers has to be made. In addition, according to Iacolare Twitter lists represent a way to highlight one’s expertise, no matter whether the lists are public or private.

Searching effectively, in particular the orderly sorting out of tweets in columns on TweetDeck, is another aspect of quick and successful detection of information. The representative of Twitter Italy spoke about the various options to filter searches based on content, users, engagement and alerts. She also introduced the possibility to search for past tweets – a tool which, in her words, few people were aware of.

Iacolare pointed out that when narrating, journalists need to clearly state their name, position and media outlet they are working for and actively promote their work by using hashtags and a “@” in their account information. “Fill in your profile not only with work, but also with some personal information”, advised the expert and added: “be present, relevant, concise, equipped, prepared and exhaustive – this will certainly accelerate your Twitter account popularity”.

Moreover, Iacolare introduced several options of enriching journalists’ Twitter accounts by, for instance, using screenshots and videos in their tweets. “You can tag people on pictures to save characters”, said she and added that the visual appeal is very important for every tweet, as it increases the engagement rate.

Last but not least, the representative of Twitter Italy shared some tricks as regards interacting with other users. In particular, she advised to avoid starting a tweet with a “@” because it would make the tweet visible only to a few of one’s followers. “Better use a “. @” in the beginning to make your tweet visible as a reply and as your original tweet”, advised Iacolare.

The last part of the workshop was devoted to Periscope and how journalists can work with it easier. The expert from Twitter Italy elaborated on the four main tabs of the app – the TV icon (showing the most recent and still active live streams of the people the user is following); the globe icon which Iacolare named “one of the main strengths of Periscope (a map allowing the user to go to a specific place in the world and watch the live streaming videos of other people); the shooting and broadcasting tab (an option allowing the user to create his/her own videos) and the users’ tab (showing the people the user is following on Twitter, but not yet on Periscope).

Besides all the advantages Twitter and Periscope could offer to journalists, Livia Iacolare pointed out that every tweet is public and even if the user decides to delete it at a later stage, the chances that another user has made a screenshot of that tweet are quite high. “Let’s count 140 times before posting the 140 characters!” appealed the expert, thus referring to the responsibility which each one of us has when using social media.

By Stanislava Gaydazhieva