Social Media: 10 essential tools and life lessons for journalists

  1. Tweetdeck: especially handy to filter for certain types of content such as images or videos. This helped me to find a series of #EgyptAir related visuals — and reaction — which I otherwise would never have discovered.

2. Location Searches in Twitter

#alexandria throws up lots of results for Alexandria, Virginia, rather than the Egyptian city. So, using the Advanced Search function in the micro-blogging platform, I can filter results much more effectively.

I can see geo-tagged tweets from this historic city; and filter further to search for tweets with photos, such as this one.

3. Verification, is an evolving — and emerging — specialism.

Particularly in the field of breaking news. Learn from others.

Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media, LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, has an excellent analysis of how one tweep fooled the media during the San Bernardino shootings the end of last year.

His post: ‘Marie Christmas:’ Some journalists fell for San Bernardino prank; others backed away — is well worth a read. It’s full of useful lessons and tips.

4. Chase the story, but don’t stop being a human being in the process. Which of these two approaches do you think is better?

5. Even trusted sources get hacked. Question everything.

Never trust just one source. Even when that source is AP.

Read more: Inside The Clever Hack That Fooled The AP And Caused The DOW To Drop 150 Points

6. Ditto if that source is Fox News.

Sorry guys, the lights on Le Tour Eiffel go off every night at 1am…as their official website makes clear.

7. Use reverse image searches to check for previous itterations

As well as when images first appeared online.

For example, this dramatic eye-witness image can be complemented by searching for other images from the same event.

A Google Image search for “plane lands on Hudson” throws up a myriad of startling images. Including this one.

By putting the image URL into TinEye, I can see all the places where this image has appeared online, including where it was first published.

A quick cross-check with the date — and time — on the original tweet shows the NYT published this picture on the same day as Janis Krums’ original tweet and twitpic.

8. Use automation to help manage social media overload.

IFTTT is a great tool for archiving, managing Twitter lists and more.

9. Nuzzel is an excellent way to see what’s resonating with the people you follow.

10. Whilst AllTop helps aggregated top stories around key verticals.

Want to know more?

  1. Check out Markham Nolan’s 2012 TED talk on “How to separate fact and fiction online which shows how newsrooms are verifying material from the people formerly known as the audience.

2. Explore the fabulous resources provided by First Draft News, which is designed for .journalists who source and report stories from social media.

This includes their monthly quiz, which tests your knowledge of the news, but also includes learning points showing how you can test the veracity of various viral news stories.