After years of covering breaking news events as they unfold on Twitter I want to share some of the secrets of the trade and how we put them to use at Socialwise ourselves.
We’ll release more in depth articles featuring all of these areas and more in the future. But to get started, here are three ways to track coronavirus news on Twitter.
Note:We’ve recently added a new section to our web app dedicated to covering coronavirus news so if you want to skip the how and see the results just click here and watch it in action.
Number 1 - Your Timeline
This one seems obvious because well, it is.
But you speak to any journalist about Twitter and you’ll see their eyes light up when they talk about their perfectly cultivated timelines.
You generally put together these sources over a long period of time, following new accounts when you notice a few good bits of information.
In this case I’d follow respectable handles like @CDCgov, @WHO or top journalists you trust.
Number 2 - Lists
A Twitter list is literally a list of Twitter accounts that have been grouped together so that you only see the content that comes from them and no one else. Lists are awesome but probably aren’t as popular as they should be because they can be quite time consuming to put together.
But they’re ideal for a situation like now where you may want all the coronavirus news you can manage but hopefully in several months from now you won’t want to be following all those same handles.
One of the most basic and best methods for list building is simply finding an account you respect, let’s take @NYCHealthSystem as an example. View their profile and click on “Lists” and then click on “Member”.
Now you should see pages of lists that other people have already curated involving this account. If there’s a particularly good public list here, you can just subscribe and be done. But I tend to explore a few lists and start compiling my own list using the members of all their lists.
What you end up with is a highly targeted and curated timeline of content specific to a theme.
Number 3 - Keyword Searches
It’s like hashtags right? Yeah it is but without the training wheels.
Hashtags and trends are smart for joining conversations and taking part on Twitter as a whole. But what about if you want to get in on the good stuff before it trends?
The key here is to think outside of yourself as the consumer of the tweet, and think how the creator would phrase something and build your search based on that.
Are we expecting a statement, announcement, press conference or television address on these new numbers?
Generally a statement is partnered with released / releasing / releases / release and then combined with the subject matter you’re looking for. Whereas an announcement or press conference in a tweet would often be matched up with the person doing the announcing or presser.
So in this case I would look for the name of the speaker combined with announced / announce / announces or conference / event in order to get the quote from the source.
Because after all, it’s important to make sure you see the full piece of information with attribution for sourcing. There’s already enough misinformation out there.
These are just the first steps on how you can follow a story unfolding on Twitter. I’ll be back with more in depth information ranging from boolean searches, list searches and advanced list building.
Just a reminder that we have made available a free coronavirus news dashboard where you can skip the hard work of building the searches and just look at the results.