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Reading Response #3 – Microblogging

For this week you read the Mark Briggs chapter on “Microblogging.”   You each are microblogging all semester by using tumblr.  You tweeted reports during the Robert McChesney talk and perhaps this isn’t the first time you’ve covered an event via twitter. Here are some questions to think and write about as you reflect on the journalistic use of microtools: What’s your reaction to this microblogging process as a journalistic tool?  Did you cover aspects of the McChesney event differently because you were tweeting rather than writing a long text piece or a story for broadcast?  How can you improve your tumblr posts and tweets?  How do you feel about using other microtools such as vines and instagram videos as journalistic tools? Does using all these simple, flexible and intimate microtools undermine the fundamental tenets of good journalism?   Are there other microtools you are currently using or plan to use?

Don’t forget to post your responses by the Tuesday 9/24@11:59p deadline.

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  1. Kelsey J. Kondraski Kelsey J. Kondraski

    I think microblogging is a fantastic journalistic tool. One of the most important parts of being a media outlet is to be the first to release a breaking story. Instead of typing out a whole article, journalists can now tweet, update Facebook, or use other social media to get the main points of a story. This also makes it easier for journalists to update information faster and easier. I like microtools because it allows me to get my thoughts out right away before I forget important points that I would want to include in an article. Yes, I covered a lot of aspects differently at the McChesney event because I was tweeting. I looked for the very main points. I had to shorten a lot of thoughts because of limited characters in a tweet. I feel this helps me narrow my point to get it as concise as possible. I think that I can improve my Tumblr posts and Tweets by getting more familiar with the websites. I find that the more I practice and play with them, the more new things I figure out about the website. This allows me to get my ideas and stories out quickly and also effectively. I feel that using instagram and vine videos would be good journalistic tools. They are both popular microtools currently and a lot of people would watch and listen to them. However, I think that it would be difficult to get good video with only six or fifteen seconds. The information will have to be condensed to a very short amount of time. To some extent I think that using all the simple microtools undermines journalism. I have attended four years of college and learned different ways to write a story and produce a newscast. I feel like my thirteen year old cousin who uses twitter and instgram could now do the job I’m going to school for. I use twitter, tumbr, Facebook, instagram, vine, snapchat and wordpress.

  2. Carter Wintsch Carter Wintsch

    I too think microblogging is a very useful tool. Kelsey brought up a very good point when she said that limited characters require one to choose words much more carefully to get across the main point. However, I would add that microblogging should not be the be all, end all in journalism. I personally think that microblogging through media outlets such as Twitter should be used as more of a tool for starting conversation. For instance, last year I live tweeted the Grammys, a subject I am personally very interested in. Throughout my coverage, I was conciously reacting to the events and adding my own personal insight. Any good journalist knows that opinion and news coverage are not supposed to mix. So, my motivation is to get people interested in the event. If my followers saw me react in an outrage when Frank Ocean was snubbed for album of the year in favor of Mumford and Sons, they may want to look up who else was nominated or provide feedback as to why they think I was wrong. Now, you have someone who didn’t care about the Grammys invested in debate and talking about it.

    As far as the McChesney lecture went, I found that much more difficult to live tweet. My biggest struggle is deciding how often to tweet, because I am sure there is some point where your audience says “ENOUGH ALREADY” and just begins to ignore every tweet you post. So, with McChesney, I tried to cover what the meaning behind his words was as opposed to what was going on. I paraphrased quotes that any follower could engage with, even if they were not in attendance. Had I been taking notes for a longer piece, I would have attempted to gather a LOT more quotes.

    Overall, I feel microblogging has a very beneficial future in store for journalists, as long as it is used effectively. That effectiveness is partially the responsibility of the journalist, but hopefully audiences will learn to engage and take advantage of that opportunity, as that is what I feel microblogging should really be used for.

  3. Olivia La Bianca Olivia La Bianca

    Personally I enjoy microblogging. Even in my personal writing blog, I keep the post lengths at a paragraph or two maximum because I value the idea of a short, to the point, and personal approach when reporting.

    I think a way that I could make my microblogging presence more effective is to incorporate multimedia a bit more frequently than I have. Because I had very limited knowledge of Tumblr before actually creating an account for this class, I was not sure and still am hazy as to the procedures needed to incorporate video, audio, and image media into my posts. I need to experiment with that a little more.

    The way in which a story is told through microblogging is definitely affected. In many ways it is harder. Mark Twain once said: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”. It is difficult and time consuming to come up with a short, swift, to the point, poignant piece of writing as opposed to rambling on and on about something and are able to cover all your points but only through a very lengthy and probably extremely repetitive (not to mention somewhat aggravating) process . . . (see what I did there?)

    Ultimately, I am excited to see where microblogging will take journalism and reporting in the future. My only concern is that the integrity of the piece may suffer due to lack of information.

  4. Lucas Rodgers Lucas Rodgers

    Briggs’ chapter on ‘microblogging’ offers some insight into the various ways that small-scale social media posts can be quite beneficial to journalism. Using microblogging as a journalistic tool provides new ways for journalists to break stories faster and easier than would ever be possible with traditional journalism. A journalist can use social media, such as Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook or Tumblr to post the headline or overview of a story to pique the readers’ interest, and then publish the full story once its been completed. I personally use social media when I’m reading news online. I follow multiple news outlets on Twitter, and when I see a tweet that catches my eye, I’ll click on it to read the whole story and get more details.
    I like the concept of ‘ambient awareness’ and the analogy comparing social media posts to individual dots in a pointillist painting. It makes sense because each social media post might seem like trivial nonsense, but as a whole, there can be a lot of useful information posted to social media. Microblogging can be a great way to cover the news, but it can also be a double-edged sword because journalists who’ve neglected to fact-check Twitter posts may sometimes jump the gun and make mistakes in their news coverage, as we talked about in class last week.
    I covered McChesney’s speech differently with tweets than I would have if I were writing a longer article. I couldn’t actually live-tweet during the speech, but I wrote down some of McChesney’s quotes, along with my notes and observations on his speech, which I condensed and posted to Twitter that night. I have little to no experience with microtools like Vine and Instagram, but I definitely think they have potential for journalistic purposes, at least as a way to supplement longer multimedia pieces. I believe I could improve my posts on Tumblr and Twitter by focusing on a particular topic I’d be able to cover well, and building an audience that would be receptive to that topic.

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