What I learnt from Microblogging on #Twitter
Looking at my own live-tweeting experience with the popular reality show Made In Chelsea and how it gained multiple impressions…
Microblogging is defined as “a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows users to create short messages to be posted and shared with an online audience.”
Similar to multimodality (which I have explored in detail in one of my previous posts), microblogging has changed the way we share and consume our daily news. We no longer have to wait for the evening news for the headlines, sites like Twitter in particular (but also Facebook and Instagram) have given social media users the platform to access upcoming stories as soon as they break.
The short sharp nature of tweets, encouraged by the 280-character limit, means we receive concise pieces of news that are straight to the point, without the waffle that often the evening news or headline articles produce to bulk out the story. My aim was to see what level of interaction I would receive from consistently microblogging a live episode of TV.
All of that seems relatively straightforward, but is it easier said than done? That was what I intended to find out.
It became clear to me once I started that I had been unknowingly microblogging from the ripe age of 13, constantly posting updates on Facebook and updating my family and friends on a minute-by-minute construction of my day. Looking back at that now makes me cringe, but it’s interesting to understand that everyone has microblogged at some point before clearly including myself without even realising.
This, however, is the complete opposite of what I wanted to achieve on my Twitter account centred around celebrity news. For example, in the episode I was watching, I began tweeting about the cheating allegations overwhelming the current series of Made In Chelsea, which is not quite the same as telling people what I’m having for dinner.
Reality TV, despite not being as hard-hitting as microblogging live updates from Politics Live or News Night still boasts huge interaction on Twitter, especially when new episodes are being streamed. My intention was to target the trending hashtags and input my own thoughts and opinions throughout the episode, and overall received some great engagement! Generally, the experience taught me that not everyone is going to agree with my thoughts and opinions but it was how we opened the discussion on the platform for talking about different ideas that became a positive experience for me.
Looking at this through the lens of a celebrity journalist, it was great to see the engagement with trending hashtags but it also showed me that being a journalist isn’t always tweeting boring updates people valued my own opinion and I enjoyed that experience fully, despite not initially thinking I would have. Similar to the success of Instagram when I discussed multimodality, Twitter is super successful as a platform because it allows for the freedom of expression that encouraged the discussion I desired.
On my social media accounts, I have been conducting frequent updates, posting stories, responding to tweets, and retweeting a comment on my own opinions to other people’s posts. All of this was important when gaining interaction and increasing engagement, and I found this combined with microblogging to show the true power a journalist can have online.
I live-tweeted Episode 5 of the 23rd Series of Made in Chelsea as I found the entire series to that point to be one of the best reality series I’ve seen in a long time (and I love reality TV!), I also found the subject matter to be likely to spark debate… Just to give you a bit of context to help understand what I was live-tweeting about, one of the most dramatic characters Maeva decides to propose to her boyfriend as he wasn’t ready to… (eeek moment I know), as well as more rising action with another couple’s infidelity being exposed, it has been a series that hasn’t disappointed thus far and I wanted to be apart of the live-action to see what interaction I could get from this.
There were some successes in my microblogging experience…
I now have a stronger appreciation for microblogging and Twitter as a platform
Throughout the show, I was tweeting my thoughts and opinions whilst responding to other people’s thoughts. Here are some of the figures of engagement I received from my tweets!
In this tweet, I responded to a picture posted by @E4Chelsea, and as you can see received quite a high impression figure for such a small comment on one picture.
I found using trending hashtags helped increase my engagement combined with mentioning relevant @’s. This combination helped me receive multiple responses from my tweets that sparked a discussion.
Looking at this compared to my engagement outside of live-tweeting seen in the screenshot below, the figures are far lower, it shows how it is a vital tool for journalists to communicate and build an online profile. If a small account like mine can gain interaction like that after a single live-tweeting session, imagine how effective this is as a regular tool for journalists.
If I’m being honest, at first I didn’t expect any engagement and had quite a negative attitude towards tweeting; but I enjoyed interacting with people on the platform. It’s important to see how vital Twitter is for journalists as it allows for new levels of communication with readers and also celebrities in the public eye.
I now have more confidence microblogging on Twitter
Initially, live-tweeting and tweeting, in general, seemed like something that was extremely out of my comfort zone, as I naturally leaned towards Instagram as a platform and hated formulating my own tweets out of fear of judgment. But I was actually impressed with how well I started to engage with microblogging the more I tweeted, and I reaped the benefits of this as towards the end I felt confident voicing my own thoughts and opinions as well as finding enjoyment from hearing other people’s thoughts and responses.
However, it isn’t all smooth sailing in terms of my experience, and here are some difficulties I faced…
I found it difficult to constantly keep up with the flow of tweets coming in, as every time I was refreshing there were so many live updates from other followers tweeting about the same episode I was watching. I found out later, upon research into other blog posts (and another if you are interested in finding out more useful tips) that you can schedule tweets ahead of time, which as a tool would’ve been very beneficial for me as it was stressful! Tweeting so consistently meant that sometimes I forgot to add #MadeinChelsea which meant my thread of microblogging was inconsistent, but for a first-timer, I was impressed with myself and will definitely try and plan tweets ahead next time!
Another challenge that I faced was the sensitive topic of infidelity and debates about women proposing, I was aware that these are controversial opinions with either side feeling quite strongly towards their opinion so I tried to maintain my opinion in every instance but felt I had to slightly filter it so it didn’t come across as hurtful or negative to anyone else.
In general, my experience with microblogging was something I thoroughly enjoyed, and it really changed my opinion on Twitter as a platform. My confidence in tweeting has skyrocketed, but more importantly, I have discovered ways to improve for next time!
I hope this article has been insightful, and if you are interested in Microblogging check out the blogs I’ve linked further up!
Thanks again for reading, and if you would like to view my live-tweeting content take a look at my Twitter!