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L.A. Times Reporters “Tweet” Thoughts on Social Media

Last Thursday was Social Media day and the L.A. Times [1] decided to ask some of their reporters to comment on how social media has changed the way they work in Twitter style.

How Has Social Media Changed Your Job?

James Rainey, media columnist: “More info, more often. Good linking ecosystem and a way to reach out for occasional crowd sourcing. Relentless.”

Has the Way You Use Social Media Changed in the Last Year?

Nathan Olivarez-Giles, tech reporter: “I cover tech. Twitter’s invaluable. I use it to communicate w/companies; spot trends & of course: to share work we do w/worl.”

Rainey: “More frequent posting on Twitter. I get more links, story ideas on Twitter than via email.”

Helene Elliott, sports columnist: “Use it more for quick quotes, news bits.”

Twitter has become the 21st century news wire.

The official Twitter blog reported last week that user are now sending 200 million (yes that’s right) tweets per day.  That’s up from 65 million one year ago and 2 million in 2009.

For journalists this explosion has forced them to join the revolution or risk getting left behind and as Rainey said it can provide more story ideas than email.

That can be tough for long time journalists who are used to writing expansive articles or commentary but at the same time underscores how short the attention span is of the average newspaper reader or television viewer.

It’s a little like taking the USA Today approach to news and compressing it down to the bare essentials.

And with only 140 characters to work with that takes a lot of compressing.

To show just how far Twitter has come and how it has become part of the news stream, there will be a Republican presidential debate on July 20th that will be conducted entirely on Twitter.

That will limit the debate’s audience only to the more tech savvy types but it also should boost Twitter’s traffic as political junkies who have resisted using the service may be forced to join if just for a night so they can see what is  taking place.

The bottom line is Twitter is here to stay and will continue to reshape the news in the months and years ahead.