8/14/2017 0 Comments
four paragraphs on twitter
When you've read as many articles online as I have, you start to notice some patterns. One unfortunate pattern I've noticed is the authors' use of tweets to support the premise of their articles. Here is the basic formula for many online articles:
Article = Basic topic synopsis gathered from other sources + Tweets from random Twitter users to show outrage/support + Quote from subject expert gathered from more in-depth article + Basic analysis of random tweets
Journalists use Twitter all the time and therefore assume that those the 21 percent of Americans who use Twitter represent the general public. This is a lazy way to gauge public support or opposition on an issue. Instead of interviewing subject experts and conducting in-depth research to create insightful analysis, many journalists check Twitter and use the results to establish an outline of their article. Maybe I'm old school, but what someone with 15 Twitter followers says about current events is not relevant to me.
A perfect example of my Twitter article formula can be found here. Note that the article follows the formula: Synopsis gathered from ESPN + Tweets from three outraged Twitter users + Quote from ESPN and expert + Basic analysis of why the tweeters found the topic to be outrageous.
In many cases the topic is relevant and worth writing about, but it's lazy journalism to just plug tweets into an article. Using tweets does not prove a hypothesis or provide insight into the attitude of the public. Using my Twitter article formula, a journalist can bang out a story and post it online in minutes. This is very important in the race for page views, but it does not make for accurate or insightful journalism.
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