Twitter for Non-Tweeters
Twitter is a wonderful way to communicate. However, for those of us who are not building an online presence, it is also a source of information from around the world. Translation apps with Twitter make it easier than ever to see what stories are trending in a country or city in a language that you aren’t familiar with.
There are many reasons to monitor Twitter:
- Find news on immediate events before the media reports them
- Explore ordinary people in conversation on cultural, social, sports and political issues
- Follow your favorite opinion leaders, think tanks and news outlets
- Scan the headlines or trends of the day in any country
- Track the actions of government or organizations
- Show transparency in government or with your organization
Track Breaking Events
If there is an earthquake in Mexico, the public will share information and photos before the traditional news sources do. Neighborhood residents are able to share news and photos, before reporters get on the scene. Twitter is usually faster than the media. This is why journalists often follow it to identify breaking news stories or potential sources.
Monitor Public Thinking
Twitter allows you to listen in on a conversation, as if you are listening to it on the street or in a coffee shop. This can be done informally through tracking what is trending or from news sources by country or city. Word choice and language are important. You can monitor what people say and how they say it. Those with large followings like politicians, athletes and celebrities, are often able to frame a story and word choices.
To monitor Twitter in a more active manner, there are now many open source applications that track Twitter conversations by topic, sentiment and reach, which allows for analysis.
Twitter is fast and easier to use than other forms of communications. It is also better on mobile phones when there is limited internet. The Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency uses Twitter to showcase arrivals along the route of emergency supplies in pictures and tweets. This is faster and less cumbersome than emails. All followers, including staff members, can watch the movement of supplies in a transparent manner. Staff were also able to reply to tweets, which became a faster way to communicate than emails or phone calls.
Violence or controversies move fast, and Twitter is the easiest way to track events. Kenya conflict mitigation teams monitor Twitter to identify potential hot-spots and send teams to the site. Human rights groups also follow Twitter to identify what they need to respond and defend in real time.
Public officials or organization leaders can have faster response times by writing 280 characters than writing a press release. Therefore, government leaders and organizations can respond faster and easier on Twitter, so they can get coverage in the first wave of media reports.
Follow Your Passion
For those of us with a wide variety of interests, it is easier to follow someone on Twitter with a limited commitment. It is fun to follow authors, thinkers, comedians, favorite magazines and journalists and organizations from other countries.
The advantage of following favorite news sources, government leaders and organizations is that is easier to scan my newsfeed and see what they are posting without going to a number of different news sources.