I write about Twitter a lot on this blog. Probably too much. But then again, I do keep telling you I’m a Twitter addict. While I do believe in the importance of the tool, it’s easy to forget other tools exist. I’m speaking specifically in terms of journalism. I often see journalists reach out to their Twitter networks for sources. Twitter is a great place to find sources quickly but journalists need to remember only 13 percent of Americans use Twitter – and we don’t even know how active that 13 percent is. That’s a small portion of the country that you are constantly reaching out to if Twitter is your only-go-to-place for sources.
A good journalist knows the importance of good sources – and multiple sources. Social media has made it possible for journalists to find sources much faster helping those journalists accomplish stories faster. But if you’re only reaching out to the same group of people all the time, what kind of perspective are you giving your stories – and your audience?
I see it often in my Twitter network. Madison, Wis. has a huge Twitter community and we are all connected to each other. The reporters in my area are great when it comes to Twitter. They know how to listen, interact and reach out to their Twitter networks. But I also see them walking the line of always using the same resources for stories – because it’s quick and fast. Deadlines are tough and knowing your Twitter community is there for you makes it easy to rely on it. However, I challenge you to remember old-school journalism tactics for stories. Continue to find sources via your Twitter network, but don’t rely on it all the time. Your journalism will suffer for it, and your audience will see right through it. The non-tweeters might be better sources for your story. You never know unless you reach out and do your journalism heavy-work.