Making Twitter work in print

Twitter, as most journalists know, is a great tool for journalists to get stories, share stories, form communities and get reaction.

But making Twitter work in print – a challenge for any newsroom which has to deal with the twin platforms of print and online – can often result in a disappointing experience for the reader.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that Twitter’s character limit – 140 characters per tweet – has resulted in a mini dictionary of short-cut terms which are fully understood on Twitter, but look a little odd out of context.

I know a lifestyle magazine which fills part of a page each month with Tweets it has received, and they tend to say things like ‘love this month’s magazine’ or ‘thanks for the great article on me in…’ Lovely engagement online, but a bit wet in print.

A newspaper down south which I see quite often has a round-up of Tweets it has been involved with, but they tend to only the ones written by their journalists, saying things like: “Great round up of the Christmas parade in this week’s paper’ or ‘Just putting this week’s paper to bed. Great read. Buy it!” Which, obviously, is a little OTT if the reader reads that Tweet in print after buying the paper.

All of which is a long way of saying I really liked this approach to Twitter from the Lancaster Guardian, taking the time to explain the context of a Twitter conversation, and even report conversations which they had no involvement in, but which told a good story anyway:


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