College Media Trend: The Tweet Greet

Over the past year, I have noticed an emerging student press trend sweeping the Twitterverse: the tweet greet.

An increasing number of student journalists appear to be using Twitter as the prime spot to seek sources for their story or class assignments and to make first contact with these sources.

The result: a dramatic rise in brief, public, and sometimes grammatically challenged tweeted interview requests that resemble public cattle calls more than courteous private introductions.

WHAT’S A TWEET GREET?

Due to their brevity, tweet greets tend to contain the same four characteristics: 1) A very, very quick note of welcome (“Hi”); 2) an extremely abbreviated identifier (“I’m a journalism student.”); 3) an uber-short explanation for the tweet (“I’m working on a story”); and 4) a request for an interview (“Up for a chat?”).

Of course, these are the basic attributes involved in an interview request made in almost any form, including in person, at the start of a cold call, and within an out-of-the-blue email. They just happen very rapidly once whittled into single tweets, often lacking context (students with job titles and outlet affiliations become just “a student journalist”), a polite easing-in or even proper spelling (“Im a j-student plz hlp”).

The oddest part about these interview entreaties: They are public. Ignoring or unable to use the private “direct message” option, the requests are simply left in raw form for the tweeting masses to read. Of course, the nature of Twitter and the wider web is transparency, but there is still something slightly disconcerting about seeing how many people a reporter has asked for a chat using the same exact greeting.

Are these types of public, quick-hit requests a positive for the campus press — enabling students to show initiative and innovation in reaching out to lots of sources who they might otherwise not have a shot at interviewing? Or is it a devolution of the journalist-source relationship? Simply put, is there an element of rudeness embedded within these opening tweets?

A PERSON, NOT A TWITTER PROFILE

I’ve been contacted numerous times this way, leading to the same four basic reactions.

1) This request reeks of laziness. You really could not spare one minute to check my Twitter profile, click on the link to my blog, and find my email address?

2) Who are you? Your tweet does not reveal it. Your Twitter profile is vague. Am I now supposed to do the work to ferret out your identity?

3) What’s next? You asked me if I wanted to chat, but left me no options on how I should respond. Should I reply to your tweet publicly to say I’m game and give you further instructions on how to contact me?

4) The human part of me cannot help but feel a little violated. I’m a person, not a Twitter profile! If I’m that valuable to you, take the time to do more than send a vague opener that took you five seconds to type and that you just sent to a dozen other people.

10 RULES OF TWEET GREET ETIQUETTE

In the end, if the tweet greet has truly implanted itself into college media 2.0, there should at least be some guidelines for its use. Here are my top 10 rules of etiquette.

To Read the Rest, Click Here or on the Screenshot Below.

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