What are the benefits for a news organisation using Twitter?
I've been aware of the micro-blogging website Twitter for a while, but never really taken it seriously - partly, perhaps, because of the name. 'Twitter' just doesn't do it for me!
However, there seems to be a bit of a Twittering craze at the moment so I decided to have a look at it properly, and find out how I could use it to my company's advantage.
The first thing I did was set up two Twitters, one for our news headlines at www.twitter.com/eveningleader and the second for the local football team, Wrexham FC - www.twitter.com/EL_WrexhamFC.
Then I used www.twitterfeed.com to send the day's headlines straight to the relevant Twitter accounts.
This means that without even trying I am constantly 'Twittering' and linking people back to my sites.
Of course I can also write occasional snippets of breaking news etc to keep things fresh, but I didn't think this glorified RSS reader was enough - it wasn't really making the most out of Twitter.
But after embedding a Twitter widget onto our website at the Evening Leader I began to see Twitter as simply a cheap and easy way to keep a section of our site updated with breaking news.
By using the widget readers don't have to subscribe to you on Twitter - they don't even need to know anything about Twitter - they can just read the latest updates to a story, or event, on your regular website.
This means a reporter and a mobile phone can report live from just about anywhere - as quickly as their fingers can text and as cheaply as a text message.
So far we've used it to cover a football match and the local election results.
If we'd wanted to update our websites in a more traditional method during these events it would have taken a considerable more amount of time and resources.
We even got some national industry coverage on our initiative -
As I said in this article, Twitter might sound a bit geeky but it’s simply a website that allows you to offer an extra service to your readers.
There are loads of these kind of websites and services out there on the web, and if you use your imagination many of them can be used give a news organisation's advantage.
I've also started a new personal Twitter so please feel free to follow me at www.twitter.com/christiandunn
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