As someone who runs a newspaper’s branded Twitter account, I sympathize with Sam Shepard at Subbed Out when he details why it’s not always ideal to have a manned Twitter feed.
The one that most hits home is #1 – the account is not manned without the responsible editor on duty. Short of working 24/7/365, one person cannot be the voice for a news organization. We all know news happens around the clock, not to mention all the @ replies and questions that come in at all hours, so how can it all be done in a timely fashion?
There are a few potential answers out there:
1. Have more than one person responsible for manning the feed. Have your day guy, night guy, weekend guy and holiday guy update as respond as needed. While it is unfortunate that there would be several voices coming through depending on the time of day, I think that’s preferable to simply missing the boat altogether. Others may disagree.
2. Have a partially automated feed. You can set up Twitterfeed to automatically post your site’s breaking news from an RSS feed. You can man the account with a live person by day and let the automation handle it by night. Official feeds do this all of the time and your readers will understand if it has to be done. At least they got the news, right?
3. Go with option #2’s automated feed solution. When news breaks in the off-hours, have Twittermail set up so a host of reporters and editors can post to your account from wherever they are without even owning a Twitter account (or holding onto your password). You may even want to tap a trusted outside source to do this as well.
I’m sure there are other solutions out there. I’d love to hear some if anyone’s got ’em.
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