Every now and then I get asked to explain twitter to hacks.
So far, my presentations are fairly mechanical, explaining how it works, which clients work best, how to build lists, use it to generate leads, or gather followers.
I talk about avoiding flame wars, about nice ideas like balance and impartiality.
That said, I usually start off with a half joke, telling the audience that if they really want to know how to use twitter as a journalist, then they should look at what I do, and do the opposite.
But the truth is, I’m not convinced twitter is a great place for a journalist to be.
So here’s the advice I’d give any journalist who isn’t on twitter yet: Don’t.
If possible, stay away. If not, lurk. Never post. Never write anything beyond “Hello World”. And don’t use your name.
The alternative is to “join the conversation”, letting everyone know what you really think about the issue of the days.
Just recently for example, I’ve criticised every national newspaper in Ireland for their refusal to report this story. In short, my twitter feed is a slow suicide note to my career.
Save yourselves, it’s too late for me.