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Chapter 7 – Live Tweeting

Recently at: OLD New Media Video Applications

Recently at : Introduction to Social Media Practice


Each student must complete a live-tweeting assignment between Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 10.

Email me IN ADVANCE for approval: provide the date, time, and a description of the activity or event.

What you will turn in

Unless you want to live-blog in another way (and get prior okay for that from your instructor), use Twitter to live-blog DURING the event. Tweets need to be coming out LIVE (duh) while the event is happening. Photos will also be live-tweeted.

  • What you tweet during the event is what will be graded. There is nothing else to turn in.
  • When you start, @ me in a tweet. For example: @mtsunewmedia Event is starting. This will let me know when you have started the assignment.
  • When you are finished, @ me in a tweet. For example: @mtsunewmedia Event concluded. This will let me know when you have finished the assignment. You don’t need to email me.

How many tweets? That depends. How many is something you need to figure out while the event or activity is happening. But as a rule of thumb, about one tweet every five minutes would be a minimum. Let me make that clear: If you cannot tweet about 12 interesting things per hour, then you made a bad choice of event or activity for live-blogging.

TWO required photos (more are okay):

  1. To show that you are at the location, tweet out a photo showing the main area of activity BEFORE the event begins.
  2. After the event ends, tweet out another photo showing the main area of activity.

Getting Ready

Students must give advance notice of the event date and time to the instructor. The event or activity you choose might be vetoed by the instructor if it seems badly suited to live blogging. Email the date, time, and a description of the activity or event to todd.oneill@mtsu.edu.

On your email, it would be very helpful to write a subject line such as “Live-blogging event.”

It would be best to give me (at least) 24 hours’ notice of the event or activity you want to cover.

Suitable events or activities

The event or activity can be on or off campus. See the RULES SECTION below.

It does not need to be a hard news event.

Speeches, talks, some kinds of meetings, panel discussions, all might be possible good choices. Press conferences are okay ONLY IF THEY LAST ONE HOUR OR MORE. (Exception: MTSU sports press conferences.) Check campus listings and also local libraries, clubs, etc., for speeches and talks.

Length of event/activity: one hour or MORE.

IT ABSOLUTELY MUST BE INTERESTING!!! Sometimes students choose to go to incredibly boring panels or meetings. If you are bored, don’t you think everyone else is too? Please use your head and think about THE AUDIENCE.

Rules, rules, rules

  1. The event/activity MUST last at least one hour.
  2. No sports, no games. However, you may live-tweet a sports press conference.
  3. No TV shows or movies. The event/activity MUST be live, and you must be present.
  4. No classes. You cannot live-tweet a class.
  5. Any photo you tweet must also have text to explain it.
  6. Don’t ONLY quote things that are said at the event. Add commentary too. Add context. *
  7. Typos will hurt your grade. Fact errors will hurt a lot! Be fast, but be accurate.
  8. You may RT others who are tweeting about the same event/activity. (Those do not count as your own tweets.)
  9. DO NOT steal other people’s tweets! Always RT or attribute with @
  10. Do not use If the event/activity has its own hashtag, use it!
  11. If the event doesn’t have a hashtag, create one!
  12. Use a tone that is suitable to the event/activity. Sometimes you can be witty and funny. Some events are NOT right for humor. Never be snarky. Do not make fun of people. Use your judgment

You might look up something that is mentioned and provide a link to background info. Example: A speaker refers to a New York Times story from yesterday. You look up the story, grab the URL and tweet it, along with text such as:

“Here’s the NY Times story Gov. Scott just referred to.”

Another example: A speaker refers to a statistic, such as number of prisoner executions in Florida. You quickly look up background on that statistic, find a reliable source, and then tweet it, with attribution:

“Complete list of all inmates executed in Florida since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/execlist.html

Sometimes you’ll be able to offer commentary such as:

“Standing room only for Mayor Barry’s press conference. Latecomers being turned away.”


  1. Do research beforehand about the event/activity and any people or organizations involved.
  2. If people and organizations have Twitter handles, you should know them in advance and be ready to use them.
  3. Have neatly typed notes on hand for fast copy/pasting into tweets! If using your phone, store the notes as plain text in an app such as Evernote (free).
  4. Do not make up or use any long, silly hashtags such as #thisisnothappening (remember, do not be snarky).
  5. Arrive early. Good reporters see and hear many interesting things before an event begins. (Coming in late is extremely unprofessional!)
  6. Leave after everyone else has left. Sometimes surprising things happen when all the guests or fans or audience have gone.
  7. Use present-tense verbs — says, not said — it’s happening now!
  8. Create a Storify for this assignment and embed it in a post.



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