Using Tweetdeck for news gathering

There are lots of tools for monitoring social media, but I like to use Tweetdeck.

You don’t need (yet another) user account, as it’s part of Twitter, and it’s easy to use and customise.

So, first of all, go to Tweetdeck.

Log in with your Twitter account.

Default columns

You can customise the columns that appear in Tweetdeck

By default, you’ll see four columns to start with.

Home – this is your main Twitter feed. It’s what you’d see if you opened up Twitter.

Notifications – this is where your notifications appear, showing when people reply to your or like your tweets.

Messages – these are your direct messages (DMs).

Trending – this shows what topics are trending. You’ll see a note telling you how to filter this column. You can set it to show what’s trending in Leeds, for example.

Change columns

I prefer to remove the notifications and messages columns – do this by clicking on the filter icon and then ‘Remove’.

Now click on the + symbol on the left hand side.

There are lots of different column types in Tweetdeck

You can set up as many columns as you like, but first we’re going to start with a List, so select that.

Click ‘Create list’.

This list is going to be for local authorities, organisations and people, and no matter where you are at the moment you need to keep up to date with what’s happening in Leeds, so call it ‘Leeds’.

Keep it public.

It’ll suggest several accounts connected to Leeds – add them all.

Now search ‘West Yorkshire’ and add all of those too.

That’ll do for now, but keep adding to this list. You’ll want to add local politicians, businesses etc. (Check out the contacts wiki on MyBeckett to get some ideas).

Now click ‘Add column’ and press the X in the top right to close.

Add another column – this time choose ‘Search’ and type in ‘Leeds’.

This column won’t be that useful. People mention Leeds a LOT on Twitter. But it’s just to show you how to add a search column. This is really useful if you’re working on a particular story as you can track mentions of it. For example, if there’s a Covid outbreak at a local school, you can add a column with the school’s name. You can also remove the column at the end of the day.

Creating collections

You may want to curate some tweets to embed in your story, especially if you’re the live reporter for the day.

Adding a Collection column is great for this.

Add a new column, choose Collection, click ‘Create collection’.

Give it a name, like ‘Newsday 1’.

Drag tweets into your collection

Click on the arrow cross at the bottom of the tweet you want to add to your collection, then drag it into the column.

When you want to embed it into your story, click on the time it was posted to open up the tweet into a new tab, then copy the URL and paste it into your story.

Add your colleagues

Make sure you’re following everyone on your course, including tutors.

There may be a list set up for your group – add it as a column.

Leeds Hacks Class of ’22 Twitter list (make sure you add your Twitter username to the engagement spreadsheet to get added to this).