Hi. My name is Adam.

Hashtags: The best way to pawn your work off

Posted in Uncategorized by adambsullivan on March 26, 2010

I covered a Barack Obama’s visit to Iowa City today. (Here’s some of what I came up with.) While covering a presidential address, there are plenty of sources who want to talk to you and you don’t even have to take notes because the you have an embargoed copy of the speech already, but it’s still stressful: You don’t want to mess it up and there’s a lot going on.

Usually during event coverage, I tweet as much as possible, trying to fulfill my role as a public surrogate. It can be a stressful thing, especially when I’m trying to manage my personal twitter account as well as the couple profiles I manage for The Daily Iowan, all in addition to taking notes, shooting stills, shooting video, conducting interviews, reading the competition, updating the website, etc.

However, today was the first time I really grasped the power of twitter hashtags as an event coverage tool. I’ve used hashtags before to monitor trends and medium-term happenings, but not often for one-day events.

A couple days before the event, I started throwing around the #ObamainIC hashtag, trying to make it as social as possible (asking people what they thought of the event, whether they’d received tickets, etc). Luckily it caught on, peaking at more than 100 tweets per hour before, during, and after Obama’s speech.

Because audience members and people watching the speech at home were giving quotes and asking/answering questions, I didn’t have to do those things as much. I still threw up some tweets before the event, but not nearly as much as I would have if I hadn’t crowd-sourced the task to my networks.

Additionally, this presents an excellent counter-argument to those who say web stuff distracts journalists from their primary reporting and writing responsibilities. If you successful utilize your social networks to carry on the discussion, you’ll free yourself up to concentrate on collecting good interviews and developing interesting angles.


One Response

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  1. dsedward said, on March 26, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Read the blog Adam. Good stuff.

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