From Promotion to Conversation

From Promotion to Conversation is a list of twitter suggestions and best practices specifically for documentary units that will make their social feeds more two-way and build a strong sense of community and trust with their users.

The reason for this is because people no longer want to be talked at by news organizations. They want to participate in the journalism that is being created, take part in an ongoing conversation and help influence it’s outcome.

Some of the people that will participate in these conversations are highly knowledgeable about the topic at hand or highly interested in it, which has drawn them to the topic in the first place. These people would like to contribute new information — research, thoughts or experiences — to the conversation that the journalists themselves can then use in their stories.

Other people are drawn to the conversations and the documentary not because they are familiar with the subject matter or the topic, but because the topic or information is new or foreign to them. These people will have questions or, perhaps, reservations about the journalistic content that will need clarification or warrant further discussion on the issues in new and unique ways.

Either way, both voices are necessary to pushing the journalism and the conversation further.

As a result, I believe that if documentary units more frequently update their Twitter feeds and better communicate with their users, the journalism will be better informed and the users will be more engaged with the content.

To test this hypothesis, I created case studies on the Twitter feeds of notable documentary units, journalists and news organizations — and analyzed CNN’s In America documentary unit to see how they and other units like them function on a daily basis.

What I found is that most documentary units currently use their Twitter feeds for promotion and not conversation, and that individuals were the most innovative with their feeds.

As a matter of fact, a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released on Nov. 14 echoed these findings.

According to the research, 93% of tweets from news organizations link to their own site, while only 1% link to other news sites or other sites in general, suggesting that the twitter feeds of news organizations are currently used more for promotion than conversation across the board. This is concerning.

Links to news sites other than your own are important because they introduce new and different views, information and perspectives into the issues at hand and are, therefore, great at facilitating conversation. Without introducing varying opinions or ideas, it is almost impossible to start a valuable  discussion.

To view the methods and tools in which to create and encourage a lively discussion on your Twitter feed, click the links in the navigation at the top, starting with “Personality & Trust.”