Ever since I started using Twitter regularly I’ve said that it really comes into its own when used from a mobile device. Backing this is the factlet that Twitter has started putting a wee message up that says: “Twitter is more fun and useful when you access it from your mobile phone. Set up your phone up now!”
I think that’s true. I will tweet on things that happen around me, or as part of a discussion on a backchannel like BBC Question Time (#bbcqt) – I can’t be sitting in front of a desktop or have my laptop running all the time, so a hand-held tweeting device is a must for me. I find that when I’m at my desktop I’m doing something that requires all my monitor real estate like something in Photoshop, or something else has my full concentration.
I think I’ve got my Twittering technique down to a good flow. I rarely, if ever, post from the web, preferring to tweet from UberTwitter on my Blackberry or Twibble on my N95. That’s not to say that programs like TweetDeck and the Twitter.com interface don’t have their place. I still use Twitter.com in my toolset, I just think that it’s been surpassed for actual tweeting and that isn’t the best use of it anymore.
What I do use the Twitter.com site for is a link repository.
Often I’ll be sitting on the train or in the library going through the various tweets from those I follow. I reckon about 90%* of the people I follow are journalists, journalism students or social media professionals; so they tweet a lot of really interesting links to articles, blog posts and videos.
The problem is that on my teeny wee mobile screen I can often have trouble reading a blog post or online newspaper article – sometimes the page won’t load at all on the mobile browser and this is regularly the case when videos are embedded.
So, if I’m sitting in the library and reckon that the link is worth a revisit from a fully functional browser I’ll favourite the tweet and come back to it from my desktop. I log in to Twitter.com, view my faves and start browsing in a new tab.
I’m at the point now where unless it’s a blog post that I know for 100% certain will load ok on my Blackberry I just fave the tweet with the link and re-visit it from home. Experience has shown that by doing it this way I will get more links marked for review in the limited time I have whilst out and about than I would if I tried to view them all as I find them.
As a result, once the kids are asleep I can sit down to perhaps five or six articles and blogs on the subject of journalism or social media or whatever is in the news at that time. For me that’s best practice with Twitter. I don’t often tweet pics and when I do it’s usually something daft just for a giggle.
Mobile tweeting should an every day part of any journalist’s routine. We’ve seen the evidence that it works and has an impact on the news. The Hudson River plane crash was probably the first publicly acknowleged example of Twitter in the news. James Buck’s arrest in Egypt is another, although less well known to the non-tweeting masses.
So go on, sort your mobile out for some on-the-go microblogging. You’re a Tweeter, and a Tweeter tweets. Get out there.
*the other 10%, I’ll admit, are mostly celebrities related to science fiction. And Stephen Fry.