#TweetDeckTips: Q&A with Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Andrew Moon

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Andrew Moon (@moonytweets), is a social media producer at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Moon specializes in social media and user-generated content, working to enhance news coverage and relationships with the ABC audience. Moon, an avid TweetDeck user, answered these questions via e-mail.

How do you use TweetDeck for work?

For both posting updates to Twitter and monitoring Tweets and hashtags, but mostly for monitoring: what are people saying about our coverage, what events are other news organisations covering, what are politicians talking about, and what content is coming out of certain regions or events.

What does your setup look like?

Two screens, and probably too many columns! I monitor my home timeline, then mentions of ABC News 24, Tweets from other news departments and journalists at the ABC, Tweets from global breaking news accounts, and Tweets from federal politicians, followed by columns customised for particular stories.

You use TweetDeck as part of ABC’s online news program, News Exchange. Tell us about this show and how you use TweetDeck for it.

News Exchange is ABC News 24’s social media and online news program, bringing stories and reaction from both spheres (online and offline) to a TV audience. A key part of this show is the conversation the content generates, so our producers use TweetDeck to favourite related Tweets, which are then fed through to the presenter’s laptop and in-studio plasma screen. We do this by creating a “Favorite” column in TweetDeck.

You mentioned hosting Twitter trainings sessions at ABC.

We’re very lucky at the ABC to have some of the best journalists in Australia, and my role has been to ensure that skill set includes a strong proficiency in all things social media. This includes introducing them to key social platforms, the art of live-tweeting, monitoring streams of information and filtering using tools like TweetDeck, and then verifying accounts and user-generated content.  

 Do you use the filters? If so, which ones, and how do they help in covering stories?

In a breaking news event, one of the first things we look for are photos from the scene, followed by video, both of which can also lead us to eyewitnesses on the ground. For finding these, TweetDeck’s media filters are invaluable, and have helped us on a number of occasions.

In a breaking news event one of the first things we look for are photos from the scene. For finding these, TweetDeck’s media filters are invaluable.

One morning earlier this year, we began to hear reports of a commuter train crashing into a station in the Australian city of Brisbane. I used Twitter filters in TweetDeck to set up a location-based search for any tweets featuring links [before TweetDeck had in-built image and video filters].

Cleveland near:”Brisbane” filter:links

I then added this search to a column, which alerted me to one of the first photos posted by a local community publication, which we were able to verify and get to air within minutes.

The language filter has also been useful to find English-speaking voices when news breaks in non-native English speaking countries, such as Egypt. When security forces stormed protest camps set up by supporters of Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, we were able to use a combination of language filters (searching for English content) and location filters to find freelance journalists currently in the Egyptian capital to speak to over the phone.

What’s your favorite thing about using TweetDeck?

The power of the search and filters, and how easy it is to quickly turn a complex search into a column to easily monitor.

Do the Tweets you source ever end up on-air?

Absolutely. For example, during our coverage of Labor Party leadership changes in Australia, we monitored a list of federal politicians to alert us to relevant commentary which we can immediately add to our coverage.

Is there something you wish you had known about TweetDeck but just learned?

The font size and column width can be customised….after too many hours staring at the screen, my eyes are thankful for this discovery!

What advice would you give to a new TweetDeck user?

Don’t just add columns and leave them in that order. Spend some time thinking about what you need to be looking at most, and ordering your columns based on those priorities. It means you’ll adapt to looking at certain parts of the screen depending on what you need, saving you time in the long run. Also, make use of the ability to drag and change the order of columns … a boon for developing or breaking news stories.