The fastest way to search Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

I Type 2000 Words A Minute... Uh Yeah
I Type 2000 Words A Minute… Uh Yeah by Bill Shaner licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you write about or follow breaking news in 2015, you need to know how to quickly search social media. Every second counts, especially when have to try many search words or phrases. On a laptop or desktop computer, one of the quickest ways to search Twitter, Facebook or any network is to use Chrome’s address bar.

If you don’t already use Google’s browser, download Chrome now. There, that’s better.

Google calls its address bar the “omnibox,” presumably because it does so much. For example, if you type words into that box and hit Enter, Chrome will bring you to a Google search engine results page. That magic box even works as a basic calculator for the math-challenged reporter.

I’ll show you how you can teach that omnibox to search Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Continue reading

How to detect Twitter sarcasm about Kanye and McCartney

National Sarcasm Society t-shirt
National Sarcasm Society by Acid Pix licensed under CC BY 2.0

Some media outlets, like ABC on Good Morning America, laughed at Kanye West fans for not knowing who Paul McCartney is. Yeezy fans posted tweets that credited West for featuring the unknown McCartney in West’s new single. (Listenbuy, or read “Only One.”)

The only problem is that those comments were sarcastic. I haven’t read all the tweets that each media outlet shared, but here is one I saw in every post I’ve read on the topic:

When I saw that, I was incredulous. This guy can’t be serious? If you are a reporter, run with that incredulity. Question that tweet.

Here are a few simple methods to detect Twitter sarcasm.

1. Ask!

The easiest way to find out if someone is serious is to ask that person. On Twitter, that means you hit the reply button and pose the question: @desusnice Do you really not know who Paul McCartney is?

2. Observe

Desus Nice might never reply to your query, so look at his timeline. Do Mr. Nice’s previous tweets suggest that he is unaware of people and places of cultural significance? Does he crack wise, or is he a straight shooter? Is sarcasm a comedic weapon that he wields? If he likes to joke around, there’s a good chance his McCartney tweet isn’t serious.

3. Search

If Desus Nice knows who Paul McCartney is, he might have tweeted about him before. To find those tweets, paste this into Twitter’s search box: “paul mccartney” from:desusnice

Twitter sorts the results using some secret algorithm. You want to see all the tweets, so click on the “all” link near the top of the page.

Twitter search all link
This will show all tweets during a search

You’ll find that Desus Nice has mentioned the former Beatle on many occasions. Here is a sample from more than two years ago:

Does it matter?

An investigation about sarcastic tweets might be frivolous, but the tips are real. You can use them when reporting on corporations, representatives, government entities, and breaking news.

This whole discussion is moot anyway, since we all know that Paul is dead.

A personal note

Some of the tweets mentioned by media outlets might be genuine. Some people don’t know who Sir Paul is, and that’s okay. Only when you embrace your ignorance can you learn and grow. When you embrace the ignorance of others, you accept them and encouraging their growth. When someone doesn’t know something, don’t make fun of them. Share your knowledge.

Do you want to grow as a human being? Do you want to learn something new every day? The only way to learn is to acknowledge that there is something you don’t know. Embrace your ignorance. Every day.

Please retweet to spread the word about please retweet

Dog begging
Begging by Eric J Paparatto Photography licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tweets that include the phrase “please retweet” are four times more likely to be retweeted than the average tweet, according to data from 2011.

It’s old news, but I was shocked when I recently included the magical phrase in a pair of Twitter posts that ended up with 802 and 349 retweets. Those are by far my most retweeted tweets.

It’s about so much more than the retweet

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should start inserting “please retweet” into all of your tweets. Would you continue following someone if she always asked you to retweet her? Offline, do you maintain friendships with people who constantly ask for favors? Continue reading

I challenge Twitter journalists to create a list

African Silverback Gorilla
African Silverback Gorilla by Joey Lax-Salinas licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Okay, all you self-proclaimed social media journalism geeks, here is your chance to win absolutely nothing except the satisfaction of helping fellow reporters, photographers and editors who are new to Twitter.

If you’ve ever helped a person create a Twitter account, you know that one of the first questions newbies ask is “who should I follow?” I always suggest reporters follow officials, experts, companies, customers and constituents of the industries, communities, issues and topics that they cover.

In addition to entities related to their beats, some journalists want to find Twitter accounts that provide good tips and information about journalism and social media. I often point to a few Twitter lists, like Jay Rosen’s selection of Top Journalism Linkers. I have my own list of people who frequently tweet about journalism.

As good as some of those lists are, new Twitter users could easily be turned off when they scroll through tweets from Rosen’s list and find Dale Cressman tweeting about a cure for Taylor Swift converts, me tweeting about bovine dysentery, and Mathew Ingram retweeting trivia about Mark Hamill’s age.

Those off-topic tweets could be avoided if Twitter allowed users to “follow” search results instead of people. Imagine if your first Twitter experience was a timeline full of tweets that only included certain words and phrases.

To make my point, I conducted a Twitter search that includes all English language tweets that include the word journalism along with the word social or mobile. I also included the word data, to capture conversations about data journalism. Continue reading