December 9th, 2008
Once you decide to put your organization on Twitter, the temptation is great to turn on Twitterfeed, which automatically puts RSS feeds into Twitter, and forget it. It’s like magic! You just have to come up with the idea of using Twitter and Twitterfeed does the rest!
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy — if you want Twitter to be useful for your organization.
Twitterfeed is a clever program. It pulls entries from RSS and posts them on Twitter with headlines or without, with links or without. You can tell it to send 1 entry every hour, 1 a day or as many as 5 every half hour.
Here’s the problem: People generally do NOT want to follow an RSS feed on Twitter, especially from a news organization. Twitter is a conversational tool. It is a personal tool. If you want to read an RSS feed, you can use Google Reader. If you want people to follow your newsroom’s account, put a person on it. A real person.
More news organizations are figuring out what Twitter is about, and are realizing that feeding an RSS feed to Twitter doesn’t work. Check out @dallas_news, @coloneltribune, @statesman, @phillyinquirer and @kxan_news for examples of what an account is like with a human voice behind them. Compare to @startribune (which didn’t use Twitterfeed, but was an RSS feed until it stopped updating two months ago).
It’s nice to see newspapers figuring out the right way to use Twitter.
The Indianapolis Star had Twitterfeed on full blast until Oct. 30, when it sent out this Tweet:
Since then, the Indy Star has been sharing links with a human touch. It makes all the difference. Twitter is free. All you’re spending by doing it the right way is work hours. Do it — you’ll like the results.