At this point the jury is not even formed as to how Twitter for Newsrooms will play, but on the surface it is interesting. Unlike Facebook which has relied on 3rd party developers to create industry solutions and largely lets them market alone, Twitter has recognized the quick take up of legacy and new media and created a new section on media.twitter.com to support ventures and best practices.
Why is this important, or at least interesting? It could mean that Twitter is taking a page from Google and creating solutions for specific industries, keeping in mind they could be monetized in the future. Since Twitter started as essentially an SMS service for the web, its role in social media and communications has been questioned, let alone the potential to make a profit. Yet, despite the detractors, it has arguably become the top social media service and one credited with having a direct influence in major international events such as the Arab Spring. Taking that into account, the number of journalists using Twitter as the main platform to immediately engage, connect – gather and share information – has steadily grown, making overnight stars of (and this is my list – there are many others) NPR @acarvin, ABC @ProducerMatthew, CBC @Kady (and I will include @NickKristof from the New York Times – even though he is behind a paywall). They know the medium: how to engage people with 140 characters, know the value of sharing and encouraging the exchange of information, while respecting the ethics that legacy journalism can impart to a new medium.
The same is largely true from the group point of view – while individual journalists are making their mark and creating a new, maybe even loyal audience on Twitter, so are media groups. Just about every major newspaper, TV outlet and radio station is pumping out their content in Twitter streams and through mobile/netbook apps. This is still largely untried on Facebook, where media may post certain articles and live events, whereas they have taken to Twitter in an almost radical flood.
Maybe to encourage and assist the venture, Twitter has provided a few API and programs, along with advice, for newsrooms: but, they can be incorporated and used for basically any type of website
Web Intents are the simplest way to make the Tweets you display on your website interactive.
Web Intents automatically detect whether the end user is currently logged in to twitter.com and asks for login when necessary. If the user does not yet have a Twitter account, they’ll have the opportunity to create one before realizing their original intention. No need to register an application or API key.
This maybe the section where Twitter will fail. While providing a platform for newsrooms, plus the API for live-blogging and sharing, the restrictive nature of brand and user ID may put off many publishers. Twitter Guidelines
Blackbird Pie – Embedding Tweets
Now this works, and well! There are numerous methods to embed Tweets, streams and live Twitter blogging into WordPress, but no application makes it as easy or functional as Blackbird Pie
The plugins has the following features:
Supports Twitter Web Intents http://dev.twitter.com/pages/intents
TinyMCE editor button to easily search and embed a tweet
Support for the built-in embeds API (oEmbed), so a tweet URL on it’s own line will be converted to a “pie”
Supports non-english tweets & names!
Now tweets looks pretty in RSS readers!
Exact same look and feel as the respective Twitter profile.
Allows for multiple “pies” in a single post.
Stores the generated HTML in a custom field (if possible), so the Twitter API is only called the first time.
The Custom fields used to store the tweet are hidden
Slightly better styling than the original Blackbird Pie
Better use of the Twitter profile background image and color and tiling.
Uses the Twitter profile text color.
Uses the Twitter profile link color.
Dates are displayed like on Twitter i.e. “real time” datetime of when the tweet was tweeted. (see changelog)
Auto-linking of URLs, hashtags, usernames within the tweet text.
Use either the id or full URL of the tweet.
An example – a search
The benefits of Twitter providing tools for newsrooms will only be calculated in by the uptake, or how 3rd party API developers create a better integrated platform. Needless to say – the fact journalists are taking to Twitter as a means to engage and promote will only grow as long as this social media platform continues.