What is it? Do I do it? What are the benefits of it?
According to Alfred Hermida, microblogging is:
“online dissemination of short fragments of information from a variety of official and unofficial sources.”
And I’m going to tell you about my experience with microblogging as a journalist on Twitter.
But first, some background
Before breaking into the digital era, lengthy, detailed blog posts were felt as more valuable among readers and because of this, they would receive more shares and therefore be more popular. However, this is now changing.
As discussed by Werner Geyser, consumers value efficiency and no longer have the time — nor the attention spans — to analyse 3000–10,000 word blog posts and instead would prefer to read something 1000 words or (ideally) less.
Twitter, a platform hosting nearly 290.5 million users, is the most common social media that is associated with microblogging as users are allocated 280 characters to share their updates on life, views, or opinions. Given the ‘dwindling attention span’ of users today, this platform is now considered a must for people wanting to promote themselves, their work, and businesses.
For journalists in particular, microblogging allows news to be disseminated immediately from a variety of sources, and enables ‘ambient journalism’ to come to the surface. Unfortunately, this does open the doors to a few other issues such as Fake News, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Why should you be Microblogging and my top tips— From my experience
- Real Time Sharing or Live Tweeting — Keeping up to date with the newest, and most important, stories in your field of journalism keeps you involved in the conversation and keeps you relevant. Along with this, users who are also interested will engage with your content by liking, sharing and commenting.
When microblogging on fashion journalism, one of the biggest nights in fashion was hosted, The Met Gala (read my blog post about it here), which was hugely popular on Twitter, with the #MetGala2022 trending. Consistent posting over this period of time, sharing my personal views and opinions on the event and the outfits allowed me to interact with several individuals — industry professionals included — and was a great way to promote my blog.
- Content Development — On platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, users have the scope for more lengthy, detailed updates accompanied with intricate content (photos and videos) created on special platforms with expensive equipment.
This, sadly, is an unreachable goal for the average journalist microblogging, therefore Twitter was an excellent platform that allowed me to have my say on the current news, and interact with a huge demographic of modern audiences, without the stress of making aesthetically pleasing content — which arguably takes away form the information it contains.
- Hashtags — Adding meaningful hashtags to your posts allows you to connect and interact with users discussing the same topic, and you will find that certain hashtags will be trending, allowing you to see the entire conversation on the given subject.
I found that there were countless trending hashtags for journalism and fashion, some of the ones I used the most were #journalism and #fashionblogger. However, when breaking news in the fashion industry hit Twitter, I made sure the I was using the following hashtags to share my ideas and interact with likeminded users: #MetGala #MetGala2022 #bodypositivity #femaleempowerment and #GucciCosmogonie.
- Likes, replies and mentions— Amongst the 290 million users on Twitter, all kinds of people are accessible, even those who have hundreds of thousands to millions of followers, simply with a mention, reply or hashtag.
In my experience, I made sure I was engaging with some of the big players in fashion journalism — because you never know what’ll happen!
I’m very pleased to say that this paid off when Vanessa Freidman (fashion editor of the New York Times) liked one of my replies to her tweet. Safe to say it made my day!
On top of this, a study conducted by Java et al (2007) found that one of the main reasons people use Twitter is for the conversation, and how liking, mentioning and replying make up almost an eighth of the engagement on the platform, proving this to be crucial when microblogging.
A final thought…
Microblogging is a must for people who are looking to promote themselves, their brand, work, business, everything!
I have to be honest, I underestimated the power of microblogging, however from this experience I have been able to get my name and my passion into the open, was recognised by an industry professional (only through a like but it’s recognition nonetheless), I was able to share my views and opinions in a way that isn’t possible via platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and most importantly I was able to gain confidence on a platform that could one day be my workspace in my career.
So, if you haven’t activated your account already, I suggest you do it now!