Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We must be doing something right

Or, the cynics among us might say we just got lucky.

In either case, it was interesting to note the latest Bivings Report which, instead of ranking the top newspaper sites of the year, turned to ranking how they use Twitter.

The top "Twitter IQ" went to the Baltimore Sun and the fourth to the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. Until recently, Mary Hartney, a former student of mine and University of South Carolina grad, was the Sun's director of audience engagement. She now is a content developer at YTL Communications and was one of the school's outstanding alumni this year.

At the Times Union, former student and USC grad Jonathan Bennett is online news editor.

As the creators at Bivings acknowledge, their "Twitter IQ" has its imperfections, and there are other ways to measure social interactivity. But it's one of the first I've seen that attempts to define a "balance" in using Twitter for audience interaction.

(I doubt this had much bearing on Hartney and Bennett, but at USC we have been teaching SMS/texting for five years, pre-Twitter. I don't claim any prescience, but it started after I was looking at a member's Saxotech online filing system and noticed there was a box to file a text alert on the same screen as the box to file the main story. I figured that probably would end up becoming a copy desk function, so we started trying to teach what a good text message is.)

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