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.

What I’ve been doing as the Register’s digital MacGyver

MacGyver's Multitool
Photo of MacGyver’s Multitool by Charles Williams licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I rejoined the Orange County Register two months ago, my job description was a bit nebulous. Since then, editor Rob Curley  has made it clear that I am the Register’s digital MacGyver. Angus Macgyver, the lead character of a TV series of the same name, turned everyday objects into tools that he used to escape from life-threatening predicaments.

My tasks haven’t been that harrowing, but I have definitely used limited resources to get some things done. I’ve also been taking care of a bunch of smaller tasks that someone has to handle.

Here is a short laundry list of what I’ve been doing:

  • I’ve used a whole lot of Javascript to create two special pages that would normally not be possible within the Register’s content management system: OC’s 100 Most Influential and the Register Holiday Hub.
  • I’ve created bookmarklets that lets our digital team click one button to carry out tasks that normally require selecting text, copying it, finding and replacing, and more copying and pasting.
  • I’ve tapped into the Chartbeat API to create an internal page that shows the staff just the information we use from that service
  • I’ve improved the stability of six newsroom monitors that are display stats, the Register website, and page layouts.
  • I’ve edited a few small blog posts and short articles.
  • I’ve submitted and tracked many IT tickets related to changes to website and email changes
  • I’ve made sure people moving into and around the newsroom have their phones set up and equipment moved.
  • I’ve provided a small amount of training about social media and posting graphics online.


It’s not a resolution, more inspiration and perspiration

I’ve decided to write at least one blog post every day. As I ramp up the frequency, you can expect the quality of the posts to decrease a bit.

In a rather selfish move, this blog is becoming a more personal space. A place for me to practice written and recorded communication.

My day job no longer requires as much writing as it has in the past, so this is old place is my new place to practice writing and recording words and images.

It’s not a resolution. I don’t do that. It’s just a commitment to work harder, inspired by these three things:

By the way, I’m taking the advice of many who say to just write. That means, I will edit less before I publish each post. At night, I might edit the posts that I publish in the morning.