For a recent class assignment, I followed a Northeastern University Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, and reported on it via Twitter. This was a first for me, and it presented its perks and its challenges.
One thing I enjoy about this form of reporting was its real-time quality – I was tweeting everything as it was happening, so anyone reading my tweets was getting an up-to-the-minute update of what was happening during the meeting. Trying to keep my number of tweets down so as not to overwhelm anyones feed (though I don’t think I was successful at this), I only tweeted about my most relevant observations, giving the reader a concise report. Also, taking pictures and posting them right away made great use of my new phone, and made my tweets more interesting by providing an instant visual element.
On the downside, I found reporting on a story via Twitter to make it difficult to use quotes, or write them down so as to tweet them immediately after. During the senate meeting I was covering, there was an open and somewhat aggressive debate that I didn’t feel I could convey effectively while trying to provide instant information. Having a through understanding of what might be presented at a meeting you’re covering is almost even more necessary when using Twitter because you’re having to deliver information right away – clarifying your understanding can take the timeliness out of your tweets.
Luckily, the meeting I was in was packed with friendly senators who filled me in when I appeared confused, making my first Twitter reporting experience a positive one.