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.

My6Sense and Instapaper: Great for gathering news links

My6Sense is a mobile app that reads your sources (RSS feeds and social streams) and ranks items based on your actions. The theory is that the more you use the app, the more it learns about your interests, and the better it gets at surfacing the “stuff you want.”

One challenge for me is that I do work on both my phone and computer, and My6Sense doesn’t have a desktop or web app. Thankfully, they recently added the ability to link to an Instapaper account.

This is great for mobile newsgatherers and reporters. Let My6Sense find important items, and then “save” those items that you plan to review, link to or just read on your computer.

I downloaded the app, and modified its settings to link it to my Instapaper account, and it is now this easy for me to save links from my phone to use on any computer …

Here is my stream of content on the My6Sense Android app.

I clicked on the News Leadership 3.0 item.

Then I pressed the menu button.

Pressing the “save” button stored the item for later reading and sent it to my Instapaper account.

When I went to, that item was right there at the top of my list.

If you have an Android phone, you can use this QR code to download My6Sense from the Market.

My6Sense QR Code

12 Tips for journalists to write effective headlines

Last week, we took a look at building and tapping a Delicious network to find useful links. I started this week by looking at my Delicious network and found a slew of recent links about search engine optimization and headline writing tucked away in Jack Lail’s bookmarks (read about Jack Lail).

I’ve gone through Lail’s saved pages, found the ones that contain solid tips for writing headlines, and listed those links below. First, here is a presentation that Lail saved.

  1. How to Write Headlines That Work (Copyblogger)
  2. Passive Voice Is Redeemed For Web Headings (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)
  3. SEO For Journalists: Headlines & Body Copy (Part 2 of 5) (YOUmoz)
  4. A journalist’s guide to SEO (Econsultancy)
  5. Headline writing for online audiences (and search engines) (Teaching Online Journalism)
  6. 9 Tips to Improve Search Engine Optimization (MediaShift)
  7. Newspapers: Headline writing, use search engine optimization (Editors Weblog)
  8. How to Get Half a Million People to Visit Your Blog (
  9. How To Write Great SEO Headlines – Put Yourself In Their Shoes (
  10. Newspaper SEO tips: Effective headlines (
  11. Headline writing: How to write web headlines that catch search engine spiders (New Media Bytes)

What about this post?

I realize that this blog post doesn’t contain 12 tips. Instead, it links to one presentation and 11 other articles and blog posts that contain helpful suggestions. So, my SEO-savvy friends, what would be a better title for this post? Please leave your suggestions as a comment.