An Exercise in Juggling: Live-Tweeting Speeches

Now that you know more about how to use social media for storytelling, we are going to live-report a newsworthy event using Twitter.

Think of this exercise as an exercise in juggling. You have to watch, listen, type (or write), and tweet. This is preparation for your live tweeting assignment. Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 9 – Live Tweeting Project

It will be helpful to do a few practice runs first. Let’s watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech.

First, open a Word file. I want you to type as much as information, notes, and direct quotes that you can from the speech. You may even write the tweets during the speech. But try not to miss anything!

Then, we’re going to take class time to create as many 140-character tweets as possible (with the hashtag #SteveJobs included in each tweet). Highlight the first sentence or two in your file. Is it 140 characters? How should you edit it? Is it important enough to tweet?

Aim for at least 10 tweets, but more is better. If this was a live event, your audience would want as many direct quotes from Jobs as possible.

After you’re done, we’ll share our tweets as a class by going around the room. This should give you an idea of the key moments of the speech. And you should double-check to ensure you captured those key moments of the speech in tweets you have written in your Word file.

This exercise should help you understand the process of live-tweeting.

If we have time, we will practice live-tweeting another speech: Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality to the UN.

Assignment Tips

  1. Be sure that you charge your smartphone before attending the event. If your phone runs out of battery and you’re supposed to be live-tweeting an event, that is no excuse to a boss in the future.
  2. Write down interview notes and information before you live tweet them. Don’t try to tweet on your phone as you’re interviewing someone. Construct tweets on paper or using your phone’s “notepad” before tweeting on Twitter.
  3. Dress professionally and/or appropriate for the event that you’re covering. Dressing up makes you look professional and people may take you more seriously.
  4. Re-read your tweet before you publish it. Edit it, if needed. If you do make a mistake, you can delete the wrong tweet and then publish a corrected tweet.

About The Author

I'm a faculty member in Communication & Journalism at the University of Wyoming. At UW, I have taught online journalism, advanced new media, introduction to mass media, politics and media, and alternative media. At Ohio State, where I got my PhD, I taught research methods, news reporting and writing, visual communication, and persuasion. My reserach focuses on political communication, emerging media platforms, and entertainment media. In my spare time, I love to play with my daughters, hang out with my family, cook, hike, jog, read, and blog.