Twitter for News Agencies: Enjoy It While You Can

12.12.2011, Critique

Main interests: blogs, social networks, new media, information security.

Many today know about Twitter, but few use it. Probably, 2011 can be named the year Armenia discovered Twitter. Of course, there aren't too many residents of Armenia registered on Twitter yet, but a community has already begun to form, and it's used by journalists and political parties and groups. These are the signs that this microblogging service has established itself in Armenia's information arena.

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Some local news agencies already use Twitter, but for most, it functions in a subsidiary capacity — their main efforts are directed toward Facebook.

But how can Twitter be useful for Armenian media?

The most obvious possible presence on Twitter, for example, through Twitterfeed.com, is to create a RSS news feed. This is very useful since many use Twitter to read news headlines. But, this trick only works when a news agency is created for humans and not for geniuses or maniacs. The news agency has to have a discernible news feed — with popular headlines.  

A more difficult option is to involve the human factor and only partially share your news feed, incorporating comments and hashtags. Add a little bit of humor and speed and you will find your loyal readers in Twitter. For example, one of the more well-known and most-read Russian-language accounts is Lenta.ru's unofficial feed, which has more followers than its official feed. In Armenia, Panarmenian.net makes a similar attempt

Using hashtags allows news outlets to get out of the bosom of Facebook "Like"s. Of course, news agencies can extort much more readers from Facebook. But Twitter, being open to all, including search engines, allows you to get your site to those readers who are outside the country and are interested in current events. 

And the most difficult for our media industry today — the branding of news agencies and journalists. For editors to encourage their reporters to tweet while on the scene and to make journalists be sought after and read because of who they are means to make them close to and identified by readers. It means to take another step from Armenians on Facebook who "like" you to loyal readers.

Is there anything better than that?

Samvel Martirosyan, a.k.a. @kornelij

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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