How newsrooms are using Twitter Conversation Settings
Conversation settings are an exciting way to have — you guessed it — conversations on Twitter.
Starting a conversation on Twitter with these new settings allows for more control by allowing you to choose who can reply to your Tweets: everyone (the default setting), people you follow, or only people you mention. Using conversation settings frees you up so you can engage in more meaningful conversations and avoid unwelcome replies.
News outlets and journalists have been quick to adopt this new feature, using conversation settings to conduct one-on-one interviews, have conversations as a reporting team, and host panel discussions. “Conversation settings enables newsrooms to host meaningful public conversations with their journalists and guests in a streamlined way,” says Niketa Patel, senior news partnerships manager at Twitter.
Here’s how Reuters, “Meet the Press,” and Axios are using these settings to start engaging conversations on Twitter.
Reuters has applied conversation settings to the #AskReuters series, turning to Twitter to cover topics including COVID-19 vaccines and racial justice. “Reuters leveraged conversation settings in a smart way to convene timely conversations with a diverse range of journalists from their newsroom and guests,” says Patel. “Reuters consistently takes an innovative approach to using new tools to help enhance their journalism. Driving informative conversations is a core part of their Twitter strategy.”
Extend the reach of your conversation like Reuters by creating and sharing a Moment to make it easy for people to find after the event is over. And if your news team has the bandwidth, include a team member who can curate questions from your audience to allow people to feel like part of the conversation.
"Meet the Press"
#TweetThePress is a weekly Twitter conversation that “Meet the Press” holds with an NBC News journalist covering the biggest news story of the week. Using the “only people you mention” setting allows audiences to clearly and cleanly follow the format of the conversation. “The ‘Meet the Press’ Twitter account only uses these conversation settings for #TweetThePress because this is a unique series in which we are having a back-and-forth Twitter conversation with a reporter and do not want other accounts replying and distracting from the featured journalist’s answers,” says Matt Riviera, “Meet the Press” senior digital producer. For Rivera, these settings “make it a lot easier for the featured journalist to have a Twitter conversation and make it a continuous thread without other voices, since threads can get messy when there are multiple replies to Tweets.”
Use the “only people you mention” setting to create an easy-to-follow conversation. This setting can be beneficial when talking one-on-one to a reporter, or for broader panel discussions.
Axios uses conversation settings to bring thoughtful panel discussions to its audience on Twitter. In this example, Axios invited author Andre Perry and journalist Jemele Hill to join Markets Editor Dion Rabouin to discuss the racial wealth gap. By using conversation settings, Axios was able to present a focused, detailed conversation, mixing text and video replies. Hosting the conversation on Twitter also allowed for supplemental reporting, and brought the audiences of Axios, Dion, Jemele, and Andre together to create a broader total audience.
Looking to host a panel discussion in this way? Use eye-catching, informative graphics and copy to promote the discussion in advance, and don’t be afraid to encourage replies via different media, such as photos, GIFs, and videos.