The power of Twitter

Lisa Goudy
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I think it’s safe to say it’s going to take a bit of time before the election buzz dies down.

This municipal election was the first election I have covered in my journalism career and I now have a full understanding of how social media — Twitter in particular — is so useful.

While there was a provincial election when I was interning at the Regina Leader-Post last fall for my University of Regina School of Journalism program, being an intern, I didn’t cover the election; that was up to the full-time staff as it should have been.

Despite stories I’ve heard from journalism friends and colleagues, I was still slightly surprised in a good way at how many people came out to watch the results pour in council chambers at city hall.

All the time, the Times-Herald trio — fellow reporters Justin Crann, Cole Carruthers and I — were busy tweeting away on our Times-Herald official twitter account, @MJTimesHerald, updating it with results from polling stations as they came in.

There is no question that social media has been playing an increasingly important role in politics from all sides. For politicians, social media has become another publicity tool particularly since United States President Barack Obama launched his winning campaign in 2008.

For journalists, it serves as a way to provide instant, live results to all followers so they can keep track of what’s going on without having to physically be present.

For all of the other people in the world, if someone is having trouble with the website results or are in the middle of something and can’t keep track of what’s going on, Twitter is a great way to stay on top of the election coverage and results as they come in.

Prior to entering journalism school, I was never into Twitter. I didn’t even have an account. When I entered journalism school, one of my professors said the first order of business was to set up a blog and a Facebook and Twitter account if we didn’t already had one. At that point in time, I had been an active user of Facebook for several years, but I didn’t have a blog or a Twitter account.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I have a blog that I use to post short teasers of my Times-Herald articles with links to the article and occasionally additional information I couldn’t include in the story.

As for Twitter, my experience began following a few news organizations as instructed by my journalism prof. I hardly ever tweeted. However, as my journalism experience grew, I began to utilize Twitter more and more. I’m still not as huge a tweeter as some people, but I try to make sure I tweet regularly. I understand the value of Twitter. It is a fantastic way to connect instantly with people.

For me, the power of Twitter was abundantly clear as the results came in and the Times-Herald trio worked together to update Twitter. We even had some people re-tweet some of the tweets we sent out under the @MJTimesHerald account. We’re doing the best we can to get the news out there and Interact with our followers and anyone else willing to make contact.

Social media is just becoming more popular with the younger generations, including myself. Twitter, if used correctly, can be a fantastic source of news and information. I think it’s great and I will never underestimate the power of Twitter. Neither should you.

Organizations: Times-Herald, Regina Leader-Post, University of Regina School of Journalism

Geographic location: United States

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