The Twitter rules, AP Style and baba ghanoush…

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As more journalists sign up for Twitter, management at several news organizations have issued crack-down guidelines about how Twitter can and can’t be used by their staffs. Bloomberg’s policy, as shouldn’t be a surprise, is highly restrictive. The policy memo can be seen here on Gawker. Probably not much use in these reporters having accounts anymore. Bloomberg’s rules seems a  few steps beyond the policy implemented by the WSJ, which also received some flak for being out of touch.

Other news org policies can be seen here. The most commonsense of all of these seems to come from The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

  • If you’re using an account for work purposes, identify yourself as an employee of The Gazette. 
  • If posting something would embarrass you or the company, or call your professional reputation into question, DON’T POST IT.

Jim Jelter, corporate news editor with MarketWatch, said during a panel discussion on Thursday in San Francisco that some of his journalists view Twitter as distracting noise and yet another channel to pay attention to. I’m inclined toward the same viewpoint: The ratio of information to nonsense is too skewed, at least for my work purposes, and I tire quickly of trying to use it as a communications medium over a sustainable length of time.

But maybe I just haven’t made the effort to make the tech work for me, instead of me working for the tech. We’ve seen plenty of journalists soliciting story ideas/pitches/questions through it. And more power to them — there’s no doubt as to the appealing nature of using a 140-character limit to force PR people right to the point. Others use it as an additional promotion vehicle and tool to drive traffic, so there is defintitely value there.  

And even Twitter seems to be getting its own value proposition together. Dell said last week it logged $3 million in sales through Twitter followers clicking through to its site so maybe there will be revenue opportunities for Twitter in the enterprise space. Interesting to note, too, the newest AP Stylebook — released on Thursday — added Twitter as one of 60 new or updated entries to the guide (fyi, new food entries: baba ghanoush and chipotle).