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5 great Twitter tools for journalists

Every day news stories break on Twitter. Here are some of the tools journalists can use to make Twitter work for them.

Twitter has proven itself as a valuable news source and communication tool for the media. From the recent weeks we need only mention the Mumbai terrorist attack, the Gaza war and this week’s presidential inauguration. In all of those stories Twitter was playing an important role in distributing news about the latest development. Frequently messages were written by eye witnesses – and long before they were published by the major media.

Yet Twitter is huge – and journalists will need good tools to make it work for them. Here are five tools I think can be useful for journalists trying to learn about the power of Twitter.

I would love your suggestions for other useful tools. Please add them as a comment to this posting.

And yes, you are of course welcome to follow me on Twitter: My username is JohnEi.

1. Tweet Grid

This is a Twitter search dashboard – great if you want to follow specific search words live. You can keep up to 9 searches at the same time – and the page updates every time a new Twitter message is using your search words. Tweet Grid can be a great tool when a dramatic news event is taking place, like the war in Gaza or the inauguration.

2. Twitscoop

This service helps you to keep track of what are hot trends on Twitter. Current buzz words are displayed in a live tag cloud. You can also search for specific words and follow new tweets about these keywords.

3. Twhirl

This is one of many desktop clients which make it easier to follow your messages on Twitter. You get discrete alerts for each message – and basically can do everything on Twitter, but in a much more user-friendly way. Another desktop client is Tweetdeck.

4. Twellow

This tool makes it easier to find specific people who use Twitter. It searches the bio, name and location of users. This is very helpful for journalists who are looking for twitterers with a specific competence area or who belong to certain companies.

5. Twitterfeed

Twitterfeed is a great tool if you want to auto-publish your stories on Twitter. Basically you give them your RSS feed and account information – and Twitterfeed will produce updates every time a new item is added to the feed. Many media companies have used this service to publish their news stories on Twitter.

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About the author: Experienced media manager and journalist. Enthusiastic about digital media – and eager amateur photographer. Currently Chief Communications Officer at Schibsted Tech Polska in Krakow, Poland.

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