The Convergence Point

Because Story is independent of medium

Live-tweeting, a review

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From 7 p.m. to 1:00 in the morning, I stared half at the stage and half into the small screen of a smudged I-pod, wondering who had the bright idea to live-tweet a town meeting.

Truth be told, I did. I talked it out with my editor, and we figured it would work, and be kind of cool for readers to see what was going on at the meeting if they couldn’t, or were to lazy to, go themselves.

It went well … mostly.

Live-tweeting walks a fine line between informing, stimulating, dialogue, and trolling. You’re twitter count will jump, like mine did, about a hundred posts if not more, depending on how lively the discussion, and how long the meeting.

I ran into a few problems –

First, I felt compelled to record everything that happened as it happened. Including trying to quote using a thumb keypad, which I wasn’t familiar with.

Lesson Learned: Take your time, you can update every five minutes, rather than ever 30 seconds. The trouble comes with debate dialogue, where snippets come and go. I’ll try to work as a echo now, giving enough time to accurately quote without rushing. That, and remember people’s names and spell them right.

Second, I had trouble fitting everything into one tweet, so my feed began to look like what my notes generally look like, a mess of broken, garbled english that I understand, but no one else does.

Fail communication is Fail.

Lesson Learned: Twitter’s a form of legitimate, professional communication. Be accurate, thorough and quick, but not hasty. If you feel rushed, you’re doing it wrong.

Third (there are more, but I’ll keep it to three for now), No one really knew I was doing this. The Times advertised my work beforehand, but I don’t think enough people caught on. If were were able to post the ticker on our website, which might be a good idea someday, people would have seen it.

Lesson Learned: Make sure people know you’re live-updating the meeting. Don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. that’s a little foolish.

Live tweeting can work as a powerful resource for putting out what actually happened in a meeting, but if you’re not careful, like I wasn’t, you often won’t get the stunning dialogue, or direct  quotes that make the feed come alive.

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Written by Steven A. Fletcher

April 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

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